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CM Mamata Banerjee’s Durga Puja dare

Mamata iterated how Bengal had stood for peaceful coexistence of all religious forms

  • Published 14.08.19, 1:45 AM
  • Updated 14.08.19, 1:45 AM
  • 2 mins read
Trinamul leaders at a sit-in to protest notices by the income tax department to Durga puja committees in the city on Tuesday. Picture by Sanat Kr Sinha

Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday challenged those who say she doesn’t allow Durga Puja to be held in Bengal to come and see how over a lakh pujas are held in the state that remains one of the best examples of communal harmony.

“Ours is an eight-year-old government. Those who say Mamataji toh Durga Puja nahi hone detey (Mamata doesn’t allow holding of Durga Puja), let me tell them hamarey time mein lakho Durga puja hota hain (during my regime one lakh Durga pujas are held),” Mamata said while attending a programme in Bagbazar to inaugurate Chaitanya Mahaprabhu museum by Gaudiya Mission.

“We hold all festivals here ... Ganapati, Id, Chhat, Guru Nanak Jayanti… We even hold a Durga Puja carnival,” she said.

The Trinamul chief then went on to throw a challenge: “Bengal kya nahi karta… burning ghat to burial ground… I am for all. I challenge… accept my challenge and prove me wrong. I believe in humanism. Bhaga bhagi nahin. Shanti se kaam lo (No divisions. Only peace).”

Durga Puja in Bengal was the BJP’s rallying point earlier in May when Amit Shah had alleged that Mamata does not allow people to perform Durga and Sarawasti pujas.

Shah was addressing a rally in North 24-Parganas when he went on to add that if the Narendra Modi government was back, no one would dare stop Durga and Saraswati pujas being held in Bengal. A few weeks back Shah had reportedly expressed his desire to inaugurate Durga pujas in Bengal and wanted to start with one in the backyard of Mamata’s Kalighat residence.

Mamata iterated how Bengal had stood for peaceful coexistence of all religious forms. “Bengal se takrao mat (don’t take on Bengal),” she said.

The threat was clearly to those who would question her religious beliefs.

The museum, named after Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, the chief proponent of Gaudiya Vaishnanavism tradition, has been built at the head office of the Gaudiya Mission in Bagbazar and spread across three floors. It houses videos, books and a digital archive depicting Gaudiya philosophy.

“The government will provide Rs 50 lakh to complete some unfinished work of the museum. I will also request Sudipda (MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay) to give another Rs 50 lakh from his local area development funds for this museum,” Mamata said.

“There is a house adjoining the museum. I will request the Calcutta Municipal Corporation to take over this house and help Gaudiya Mission improve this site in Bagbazar.”

Before leaving Bagbazar, Mamata took a tour of the museum with a group of monks and followers led by the president of the Gaudiya Mission, Bhakti Sundar Sanyasi Goswami.

“Don’t be afraid. Don’t bow your head to anyone,” Mamata said before leaving.