- People familiar with the pomp and gaiety associated with the Durga Puja celebrations in West Bengal will relate quite enthusiastically describing the fascinating aspects on display during the entire duration of ten days. The biggest festival for the Bengalis is not only renowned across the world and beyond but also attracts people from all faiths and beliefs to participate in the religious fervor with unbridled excitement. Bengalis settled across the length and breadth of the country will invariably make the festivities as varied and colorful keeping the age-old traditions in mind.
Pc: Deccan Herald
- Durga pandals that come up during the festivities are well thought out, planned, enterprising, depicting present-day happenings, contemporary, and conveying the right messages of good triumphing over evil eventually. Bengali associations form committees’ months in advance zeroing in on all minute details for the annual rituals. Different pandals spiritedly fight to garner more eyeballs, footfalls, and attract huge crowds till the conclusion of the ten-day festivities is a regular affair usually patronized by the Bengalis as well as people of other faiths too.
Pc: Deccan Herald
- As we all are aware, the present situation does not allow any of the usual paraphernalia associated with the Durga Puja celebrations owing to the raging pandemic fear that has crippled and created havoc all around leaving none whatsoever unaffected. Kolkata is widely known to celebrate Puja with ostentatious spectacle, most often than not enjoying the political patronage to not only consolidate the loyal followers but also eyeing to attract even more apolitical people to strengthen/expand the base. Thus, one-upmanship is par for the course move during puja times.
- Though indications are showing welcome signs of confirmed virus cases slowing down since the last fortnight, dangers lurking around that might lead to a further spike in infection cases are for real necessitating observance of safety and health protocols as also curtailing natural urge to drift towards complacency, at once. As the winter season takes effect, the prevailing atmosphere of crowd gathering and laxity in observing health and safety norms will be a ready recipe for catastrophic consequences nullifying all the gains achieved so far. Caution assumes significance.
Pc: DNA India
- In this regard, the Calcutta High Court has most judiciously ordered barring of crowds at pandals in public interest owing to the pandemic and allowing only organizing committee members to enter the marquee. The West Bengal Government should heed the High Court’s instructions in letter and spirit by ensuring enforcement on the ground. Merely asking the devotees and patrons to attend virtual pujas, practice social distancing, wearing a mask, and stay indoors, if possible is a meek way of asserting responsibilities expected from the elected Government. Festivities can wait but lives once lost can never be resuscitated. Thus, safety and health alone matter.