Durga Pujas across West Bengal have always tried to imbibe around social or contemporary themes as part of which puja organisers incorporate architectural marvels from around the world when designing the pandals. But thanks to coronavirus, the elaborate styles seems to have taken a backseat, at least for several puja organisers.
Organizers instead are choosing themes surrounding coronavirus and the lockdown to increase awareness among the masses.
A Durga Pooja committee in Birbhum district’s Sainthia has decided to decorate idols of gods and goddesses with silver masks to create awareness about coronavirus in the country.
“This time pooja committee has decided to decorate the idols of goddess Durga, Saraswati, Laxmi and Lord Karthik with silver masks to create awareness about coronavirus pandemic,” said a committee member to ANI on Tuesday.
Earlier too, several pandals have depicted themes of coronvirus and especially those of the migrant labourers’ crisis. Scenes of migrant labourers with little children walking on highways has been a primary theme at many pandals. Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala, Kolkata has decided to replace the traditional idol of Durga this year with an idol of a migrant worker and mother with a child on her hip.
The statue depicts the woman heading toward a traditional idol of Durga, the one with ten arms, in search of “relief".
Many pandals have also paid tribute to the ‘corona warriors’ who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic to help the patients.
At this one pandal in Kolkata, Durga and her entourage of deities including Lakshmi, Saraswati, Kartik and Ganesh have been shown as essential workers. Durga is depicted as a doctor wearing a white lab coat and fighting the demon Mahishasur. Instead of her customary trident (trishul), however, Durga has a vaccine in hand which she uses to kill Mahishashur, who is depicted as the coronavirus.
Images of the pandal were shared on social media and instantly went viral. Even Congress MP Shashi Tharoor shared the image of innovative idols on Twitter.
In another puja pandal in Kolkata’s Naktala, a truck has been made to stand near the entrance of the structure where clay models of migrant workers have also been put up, and the workers are shown to be trying to get up on the vehicle.
In view of the pandemic, the Calcutta High Court on Monday directed the West Bengal administration to declare all Durga Puja pandals in the state as ‘No-Entry Zones’.
The court said that not more than 25 puja organisers will be allowed inside pandals and that their names will have to be displayed on boards outside.