Kolkata, Oct 10 : Durga Puja in Kolkata has taken the centre stage of political debate after the party in opposition, BJP, threatened to call for a social boycott alleging that the goddess has been disrespected by the organiser of this puja.
The controversy erupted after the organisers of Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra decided to express the theme of the 'Farmers' movement' this year. As a part of the theme, hundreds of sandals were shown lying on the ground of the pandal, symbolising the scenes from protest in which they face police action.
"From the days of Tebhaga movement to recent ones, the pandal showcases several farmers' protests. Shoes in the pandal symbolise people who've been struggling in these movements for ages," one of the organisers said. The showcasing of shoes inside the pandal premises has raked the controversy.
On Saturday, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari threatened to call for a social boycott of the puja if the shoes are not removed before the Bodhon (Awakening) of the goddess on Sashti -- that is Monday.
Speaking to the media Adhikari said, "I have heard that the work of removing shoes has started. But I have not seen it with my own eyes. Mother is awakened in Sasthi. If shoes are not removed before Sasthi, people will boycott this puja. Those who are real Hindus will boycott. Those who believe in traditional religion will boycott that puja, unless the shoes are removed. Hindus are not so weak".
However, the organisers have refused to budge. "We did not implement this puja idea to please Shuvendu Adhikari. The choice of the visitors is up to them. We are not thinking of changing their industrial thinking or moving away from the position," one of the organisers said.
Hinting at chief minister's painting of the eyes (Chokhkhudan') of Goddess Durga and inaugurating pujas before the Mahalaya, Adhikari went on to say, "In 'Pitripokho' there should be no inauguration of painting of eyes (Chokhudan). I can only say that good sense prevails to those who are breaking the tradition. I pray to God to forgive them".
The Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra Puja Committee has portrayed the violence in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri during a farmers' protest highlighting farm law agitation as well as Sunday's Lakhimpur Kheri massacre.
A giant replica of a tractor being used by farmers to till land is placed at the entrance of the Dumdum Park Bharat Chakra pandal, depicting their struggle. The tractor has two wings attached symbolising freedom from bondage labour. The names of farmers who died in the course of the agitation have been written in chits of paper on the giant tractor.
As you walk in, the sidewalks are adorned by the sketch of a car and a farmer lying on its path, accompanied by a line in Bengali -- "motorgari uray dhulo niche pore chashigulo", which translates to 'the car leaves behind a swirl of dust while farmers fall under its wheels'.
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