Thursday, December 2

After Puja, Durga idols set to get new homes at steel plant, GPO in Kolkata

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The Durga Puja may be over this year with majority of organisers concluding idol immersions by Sunday but a handful of idols that had become the talk of the town will be preserved at different locations where people can still admire the artwork at leisure.

On Sunday, Barisha Club in Behala which had hit headlines by depicting idols of Goddess Durga and her children as refugees uprooted from their homes and left stranded at the Indo-Bangla border as politicians debated the status of her citizenship, shipped the idols from the club premises to Salboni in West Midnapore. It will be installed at the JSW cement plant after Lakshmi Puja.
The idols whose faces depict myriad expression — loss, bewilderment, pain and even simmering anger — have received critical acclaim from people in India and abroad and has been one of the most shared images of Maa Durga on the social media. It was JSW Foundation chairperson Sangita Jindal who approached artist Rintu Das and the club authorities and sought permission to preserve the idols for posterity.

This is the third year in a row that Barisha Club’s idols are being preserved. A wooden Durga carved out of a single log in 2019 is on display at the Eco Park in Rajarhat. Last year’s idols that depicted Durga and her children as migrant labourers are also showcased in front of Alia University in New Town.
“This year’s Durga with the theme ‘Bhaager Maa’ (The mother, divided) was based around the subject of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and reflects the pain of being uprooted a second time after having had to leave home once when the Partition happened,” said a club official.

Aurobindo Setu Sarbojonin Durgotsab in north Kolkata had themed their pandal as a post office and the Durga idol with her children were inscribed in a large structure depicting a postal stamp. The pandal decorated with replicas of several hundred rare and old postal stamps, rare letters, had gone viral on social media and had grabbed the attention of the post master general of India who proposed the organisers to not immerse the idol but preserve it at the GPO in Kolkata.

“The post master general of India’s office contacted us and during the Puja days senior postal representatives visited our pandal and were amused by the theme, décor and the idol. Acknowledging our work, the authorities had even set up a postal camp here on our premises on Ashtami and on Navami evening. We received the official mail where they proposed to preserve our Durga idol beside the famous Runner statue at the GPO in Kolkata,” said Mintu Patra, a senior member of the club.

The idol at Hindusthan Club in Gariahat will be preserved at “Maa Fire Elo” museum in Rabindra Sarobar. “It’s a great honour to be among the few selected,” said Saurav Basu, a club functionary.

Source: Times of India

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