Durga puja is only two days away but this year the extravagant puja pandals depicting architectural wonders of the world or quirky wonders are not there in West Bengal or any other part of the country. Instead, the organizers of Durga Puja chose the sudden Covid lockdown triggered by the migrant crisis and the “ coronavirus ” as themes for the pandals. Migrants and the coronavirus have become the main puja pandal themes and decorations in Calcutta and the districts. In West Bengal, Durga Puja is celebrated with great fervor and the festivities go on for days.
The artists tried to capture scenes that had often appeared on television – migrant workers with small children walking on highways – as the main decorative panels of the pandals. Many pandals have paid homage to the “ corona warriors ” dressed in blue PPE suits. During some pandals, the goddess Durga is seen destroying Mahisasura, the demon, resembling the ‘coronavirus’.
In Calcutta’s Naktala Udayan Sangha, a large community puja, a truck was set up near the entrance to the pandal with clay models of migrant workers, desperately trying to get into the vehicle. “Our pandal is called ‘waves.’ It reflects waves of returning migrants from different corners. We have employed migrant workers from different districts to portray the theme,” said Anjan Das, an organizer at the news agency. Press Trust of India.
Due to the Covid crisis, it’s a low-key Durga Puja in Bengal this year. Artists and idol makers say the incomes are extremely low unlike other years when they made a profit during the holiday season.
Moved by the plight of idol makers due to the pandemic, a woman from Asansol embarked on crowdfunding to support 300 clay artisans in Paschim Barddhaman district. Richa Roy, 29, aims to raise 20 lakh of rupees for idol makers in Asansol, Kulti, Barakar, Chittaranjan and Durgapur regions over the next four and a half months. So far, she has raised Rs 40,000 on the “Milaap” crowdfunding platform.
(PTI and ANI entries)