Kolkata Durga puja themed on refugees amid fear over NRC
Kolkata, Oct 03: At a time when panic over the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has gripped several parts of West Bengal, a community Durga puja committee in the city has chosen "refugees" as its theme this year.
Rajdanga Naba Uday Sangha puja, one of the award-winning community pujas in the city, has placed shuttlecocks and badminton rackets randomly in front of the marquee conveying the impression that "refugees are nothing but shuttlecocks lobbed to each other's side by two countries", said the puja committee's president Sushanta Ghosh.
Ghosh, a Trinamool Congress leader and chairman of Borough Number 13 of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation, said that an iron fencing, erected at the marquee, symbolises "the boundary which separates countries geographically but not its people".
"There will be a giant model of a bird to show that people are fettered by boundaries and can become refugees after partition but not other living beings who are far more liberated than human beings," theme artist Subrata Bandyopadhyay said.
The puja committee had started preparations since July and with 50 people working day and night at the place to recreate the effect with wood and fibreglass, Ghosh said. Asked whether showcasing "refugees" as a theme in a puja pandal will invite controversy, Ghosh said, "We have sought to protect refugees in the theme and certainly you can't ignore NRC if you take up the issue of displaced people these days."
Amidst fears that NRC could be implemented in West Bengal, large queues were seen outside Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) headquarters and other division offices in the city and BDO offices in other parts of the state as people waited for their turn in search of land and other necessary documents.
Last year, a Durga Puja committee at Haridevpur area in south Kolkata had made a theme relating to NRC and interpreted the plight of those affected by the exercise in a different way.
As Kolkata pujas have always themed their celebrations on contemporary issues, the Friends United Club in Burrabazar has, this year, attempted to recreate the Balakot air strike with its marquee displaying models of IAF personnel, a fighter aircraft and dead militants.