West Bengal, over the past so many years, has been observing a slow and subtle way of commercialization and conversion of the grandest and most popular Hindu festival of the state, Durga Puja into a mere carnival meant for fun and fanfare, by diluting the primary component, that of the Puja, out of it. The terminology, Durgotsab, which is being used to refer to Durga Puja, from the communist era vindicates the above point.
The current ruling dispensation of Bengal has gone a step further in typifying our Durga Puja with the slogan, ‘Dharmo Amar…Dharmo Tomar, Utsab Sobar’ meaning, ‘I have my own religion. You have your own religion, but the festival belongs to all’.
The Hindu community is essentially tolerant and accommodating, welcoming all in their fold, including participation of other communities in Hindu religious festivals making them feel quite at home with our practices. Moreover, the Hindu participation in religious festivals of other communities never causes them to distort or do away with their own customs. Then why the reverse needs to be done, is the question that the Hindu community of Bengal asks?
Belying the basic premise of the above-mentioned slogan stating that Durga Puja is a ‘Festival for all communities of Bengal’, images of mutilated Durga idols, a handiwork of the radical Islamist forces operational in Bangladesh flooded the internet clearly indicating that, even in a nation carved out for the Bengali linguistic community, the religious majority there is not happy with the celebration of this Hindu festival. The comment section of Bangladeshi actress Nusrat Faria was flooded with vulgar comments after she wished the Hindus on Durga Pooja.
In India too, Muslim celebrities, like actors Nusrat Jahan and anchor Mir have faced severe Islamist backlash and abuse after offering Durga Puja greetings on social media. In an instant, these radical Islamists proved that Durga Puja is anything but their own festival.
The netizens feel that the need to distort Durga Murtis in a liberal artistic form, or portraying a benign image of Maa, signifying ‘peace and harmony’, in a posture of surrender, discarding the traditional ‘dashapraharanadharini’ image, or the need to offer ‘Azaan’ in a Puja Pandal, laced with religious symbols of all communities, arises to make the Puja acceptable to the traditional iconoclasts and indiscriminately appease them. Crowd pulling or attracting awards and funds cannot be the reason for such eye sore artistry because the traditional pujas are still the biggest crowd pullers rather than these ones.
This is nothing but a leftist attempt to destroy the culture and practices of one of the oldest religious communities of the world- the only way to annihilate the Hindu race. The leftist narrative of Mahishashur worship, considering him as ‘a tortured Dalit by an Aryan Maa Durga’ more or less puts a seal on the above-mentioned apprehension, more so when such narrative is being propagated by topnotch leftist leaders like Rajya Sabha MP, Mr. Bikash R. Bhattacharya.
This year, a precedent of sorts was made by the Bengal BJP, who worshipped Durga Puja following each and every ritual customary with the Durga Puja – including the Anjali, Arati, Dhunuchi dance even Kumari Puja. The Matri Murti was the traditional single frame (‘Ek Chala) one decked in the traditional attire made of pith (‘shola’) known as ‘daker saaj’.
While such Pujas, as mentioned above, are like a breath of fresh air and a source of comfort for the Hindu community with the belief that there is still hope for the primary Hindu festival of Durga Puja to survive the leftist onslaught on its practices, the onus lies largely on the Hindu community itself to wake up from their deep slumber and raising their voice against the distortion of the age-old Puja, which celebrates valor and strength in feminine form.
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