Kolkata (West Bengal): The Hazra Park Durgotsab Puja Committee in Kolkata is in its 80 years. This year, the theme of the Durga puja celebrations is ‘Tandav’.
Notably, the puja was started 80 years ago by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The Hazra Park Durgotsab Puja Committee pandal also became unique this year as it installed a braille board to facilitate the visually-impaired pandal hoppers.
Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim inaugurated the puja pandal on Wednesday.
West Bengal Agriculture Minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, who is associated with the puja said, “The puja was started by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose eighty years ago. This year, the theme is the current turbulent situation around the world– be it natural disasters or protests or riots. There is a war in Ukraine. The pandal articulates the present situation as there is a ‘Tandav’ around the world.”
Sayan Deb Chatterjee, Secretary of Hazra Park Durgotsab Committee said, “We encounter some sort of ‘Tandav’ in daily life. The mandap reflects the ‘Tandav’ of humankind as well as nature. Our theme is seeking respite and peace from ‘Tandav’. Even in news, we only see Tandav. Due to massive industrialisation, we do Tandav with the environment as a result nature also does Tandav.”
West Bengal government has increased the grant for the Durga Puja organising committees in the state from Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000 this year. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also declared a holiday period from September 30 to October 10 for Durga puja.
Durga Puja is considered to be one of the biggest festivals around the world.
UNESCO on December 15 inscribed “Durga Puja in Kolkata” on the “Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.
This year makes it more special as UNESCO has inscribed Durga Puja in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and it is the first Indian festival to do so.
The Hindu festival of Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsava, is a yearly celebration that honours the Hindu goddess Durga and commemorates her victory over Mahishasur.
To destroy Mahishasura, Goddess Druga appeared from the fusion of all the gods’ energies in heaven. She had ten arms, and on each of them, she carried the most lethal weapon belonging to each God. All of Goddess Durga’s weapons are sanctified during this time.
Over the years, Durga puja has become an inseparable part of Indian culture with innumerable people celebrating this festival in their own unique way while pertaining to tradition. Hindu mythology holds that the goddess comes to her earthly abode at this time to bless her devotees. For the Bengali community, Durga Puja is the biggest festival. This year Maha Shashti falls on October 1 and Vijaya Dashami on October 5.
The significance of Durga Puja goes beyond religion and is revered as the celebration of compassion, brotherhood, humanity, art and culture.
From the reverberation of ‘dhaak’ and new clothes to delicious food, there remains a merry-go-round mood during these days.
In other parts of the country, during the nine-day Navratri festival, devotees worship Maa Durga’s nine incarnations in order to obtain her blessings. There is a goddess manifestation linked with each day of Navratri.
During these nine days, people maintain ritualistic fasts, recite shlokas dedicated to each goddess, wear new clothing, offer bhog, and clean their homes.
In their prayers, they ask the goddess for her favour in order to have prosperous, joyous and fulfilled lives.