Durga Puja, the state’s biggest festival, has been economically mapped by IIT-Kharagpur and University of London. It has also been branded as an industry with a turnover of over Rs 50,000 crore. The figure was revealed in a study by IIT-Kgp, which was engaged by the state tourism department.
Sandhi, an inter-disciplinary school of IIT-Kgp, conducted the study under senior faculty member of the department of architecture Joy Sen. The IIT collaborated with the University of London, which had been eager to study Durga Puja as a unique ‘socio-economic and cultural phenomenon that has transcended the realm of religion to become a mass festival, across religions’. The team from the University of London was headed by Morag Schiach, a faculty member.
The teams started working in the city and nine surrounding districts that are involved in economic exchange directly and indirectly during the festival. Right from tracing the sources of raw material, the rise in prices over the past five years, the temporary migration of hundreds of thousands of workers who come to the city in search of livelihood through art at this time — every detail has been documented in the dossier that Sandhi prepared. Each activity was extensively photographed too.
Incidentally, the state tourism department had approached Unesco to declare Durga Puja an intangible world heritage last year. The inspection for the same is pending.
“We have gone deep into the etymology of the concept of Durga Puja and its geographical connect with Bengal. We delved into old, medieval and modern Bengal history and saw how Durga Puja has changed over time to evolve into a seasonal industry. We have separated the zamindari and the barowari traditions. There’s a gamut of activity around it — retail, art installation, home craft, rural artisan migration, idols, illumination, advertisement, community tourism etc. We call it a pulsar tradition that comes alive from April to October,” Sen explained.
The dossier calls Durga Puja a syndrome that has elements of a mega carnival in it. “Durga Puja is incomplete till the altar of the goddess is made by Muslims with babui grass. Most organizers stick to this tradition, transcending religious boundaries,” Sen added.
Source: Times of India