Pay attention India! West Bengal Durga Puja pandals play up messages of harmony & diversity
Bengal has usually been good at dealing with communal tension, but lately, a series of events has put the state in a fix. However, intrinsic to the spirit of this festive season, Durga Puja organisers across the state have tried their best to send out one message – there are several ways to worship god, and all of them have only one goal.
And the message is being sent out through the way their pandals have been designed.
For instance, organisers of the Barshul Jagarani Sarbojanin Pujo at East Burdwan has picked the message of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa to convey to the visitors. The organisers feel that the people in the country are suffering from religious intolerance and a theme advocating communal harmony is the need of the hour.
Media secretary of the club, Dr Kabita Mukherjee, explained –
“We feel that there is only one God and despite belonging to different religion, the unity of brotherhood should remain constant. As a result, we have tried to depict Ma Sarada as Durga and she is speaking with people of both the communities – Hindus and the Muslims. Even paintings by Ramakrishna Deb, depicting universal brotherhood, have been portrayed on the walls of the pandal so that one can get an overview of the message we are trying to send out.”
According to the organisers, when one enters the colourful pandal, they can hear recorded messages of Ramakrishna that talk about the 'one god' and 'one worship' philosophy.
And it is not only Barshul Jagarani Sarbojanin Pujo, organisers of Kalighat Milan Sangha in South Kolkata have also tried to highlight unity in diversity as their theme.
“We have tried to uphold the concept of unity in diversity in our puja pandal as we feel that the essence of living in harmony lies in unity. The pandal is made out of an iron structure which is embellished with several pieces of hand-woven cloth of different textures and threads of multiple colours,” a member of the club, Kartik Banerjee, said.
'Unity in diversity' is the principal thread that binds the country together, the organisers explained, adding that we often tend to forget the lines from Rabindranath Tagore's poem – “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free, where the world has not been broken up into fragments, by narrow domestic walls...”
It would do the rest of the country some good if it took a page out of Bengal's festivities this season.
Edited by Jhinuk Sen