Even amid a dampened mood in the city owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the five-day Durga Puja festivities in Kolkata began on Wednesday, with Pujo committees in the city coming up with various unique ideas and themes for the pandals. But the mantle for the 'quirkiest' theme of all has to go to a club in Berhampore in West Bengal's Murshidabad, which has emerged with a unique political spin on the recent Galwan valley incursion by China in Ladakh.
A recent Facebook post threw light upon the unique twist in the Durga Puja festivities conducted by the Swargadham Sarbajanin Club in Berhampore, which has Maa Durga slaying China's President Xi Jinping as a signifier of evil being defeated by all that is good and divine in the universe.
Check out the photos here:
Durga Puja, as per Hindu scriptures, is marked by the victory of goddess Durga in her battle against thee shape-shifting asura, or demon — Mahishasura. In slaying the demon, the goddess ushers in the epitomisation of the victory of good over evil.
Against such a backdrop, replacing the demon Mahishasura's head with that of Chinese President Xi Jinping is an unconventional and some might say, uniquely contemporary twist on the mythos. Since the buffalo demon is known among a large section of Hindus to be deceitful, who pursued his evil ways by shape-shifting into various forms, the twist does seem to fit the nationalist narrative very well.
According to a report by a Bengali publication, the theme has been earning praises from people after going viral on social media. The structre was conceptualised by idol maker Ashim Pal, and as can be seen in the pictures, it consists of Durga in the centre with her children Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik, and Ganesh intact on her flanks. Everything seems to be traditional, except the fact that the Mahishasura is missing its head, which can be found nearby as one resembling that of China's president.
The Indian and Chinese armies were until recently engaged in the standoff in Pangong Tso, Galwan Valley, Demchok and Daulat Beg Oldie in eastern Ladakh. A sizeable number of Chinese Army personnel even transgressed into the Indian side of the de-facto border in several areas including Pangong Tso.
The Indian Army has been fiercely objecting to the transgressions and demanded their immediate withdrawal for the restoration of peace and tranquillity in the area. Both sides held a series of talks in June to resolve the border row.