Kolkata: Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, affectionately called Mahatma and Father of Nation, is globally acknowledged for fighting against the British regime and his non-violence theory has been depicted as an Asura in Kolkata’s Ruby Park Puja Pandal. The pandal has been organized by Hindu Mahasabha.
Mahatma Gandhi was shot down by a member of Hindu Mahasabha, Nathuram Godse on January 30, 1948, five months after India got independence.
This year Durga Puja’s Maha Saptami coincided with Gandhi Jayanti. It was also the first puja celebration after it getting listed in UNESCO’s Representative List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. However, the heritage tag could not save it from being used as a political tool.
Since Sunday, on Gandhi Jayanti, when the matter got highlighted, Hindu Mahasabha members shamelessly defended their act, “Mahatma Gandhi did not do anything for the country and India was partitioned because of him,” said an organizer.
The organizers also mentioned that they used the opportunity to have a politicised Devi set in the Puja Pandal as it coincided with Gandhi Jayanti.
“As this year it was on the same date, so we plan to depict Goddess Durga killing Mahatma Gandhi,” he added.
Today, Atanu Chakravarty, secretary, Kolkata district committee, CPIML lodged an FIR in this regard and demanded exemplary punishment in the case.
TMC Rajya Sabha member Jawhar Sircar tweeted on the issue stating that it shows the criminal mentality of Hindu Mahasabha.
Since the matter came to light, it shocked everyone and people started demanding action against the Puja organizers. But to their surprise, Kolkata police did not take any exemplary action and the only action police initiated was that they told organizers to put a moustache and hair on the idol looking like Mahatma Gandhi. Which organizers followed, reported The Wire.
Surprisingly, police also ordered a journalist to delete his tweet which highlighted the issue.
But this is not an isolated case of the saffron camp using Puja to spread its ideology or justify violence. Bharatiya Janata Party too has targeted its opponent using puja. This year BJP kept the theme– atrocities against women and post-poll violence in Bengal.
In Kankurgachi ‘Shri Shri Saraswati and Kalimata Parshad’ puja committee had kept their theme as ‘Meyeder Kanna, Roktakto Bangla’ (Cry of Mothers, bloodshed in Bengal).
The pandal is made with black cloth as both the pandal and the idol are depicting the post-poll violence in the state. The idol of the Goddess is kept in dark and sounds of cries are being played.
Though it is being done by the puja committee behind the committee is BJP.
BJP’s own Durga Puja at EZCC’s theme is ‘atrocities against women’.
According to BJP state president Sukanta Majumdar, “Incidents of atrocities against women are on the rise in Bengal, hence the theme. We have decided to bring a woman priest to perform the rituals.”
Saffron camp’s touch is also there in BJP leader Sajal Ghosh’s Santosh Mitra Square. The theme in this puja is ‘Azaadi ka Amrit Mahotsav’.
India Gate, Red Fort and Parliament’s images will be seen in light and sound.
In Saltlake’s BJ block another BJP leader Umashankar Ghosh Dastidar made his Durga Puja theme as Ayodhya’s Ram Mandir.
Slamming the saffron camp, TMC spokesperson and state general secretary Kunal Ghosh said that no BJP leaders are involved with any puja.
“This makes it clear that BJP doesn’t have any public connection. None of them are connected with any puja. They have hired a government hall to perform puja. Even if BJP plays politics over Durga Puja, the common people of the state won’t accept it,” said Ghosh.