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North Dinajpur puja portrays idols as frontline warriors

Puja in pandemic year packs in plenty of detours from tradition
Goddess Durga and her children depict frontline workers at the Adarsha Sangha pandal in Islampur.
Goddess Durga and her children depict frontline workers at the Adarsha Sangha pandal in Islampur.
Kousik Sen

Kousik Sen   |   Raiganj   |   Published 23.10.20, 02:28 AM

When a virus is the enemy of the entire human race, it is only fitting that Goddess Durga takes on the avatar of a doctor fighting the Covid-19 mahishasur (demon). 

Her daughters Lakshmi and Saraswati are a nurse, journalist. Her sons Ganesha and Kartik are a policeman and a hygiene worker. 

The coronavirus, the lockdown and the plight of migrants have dominated themes at community puja pandals across the state this year. Amid them, Adarsha Sangha, a prominent club in Islampur of North Dinajpur, stands out. 

During this year’s Durga Puja, Adarsha Sangha has portrayed the idols as frontline warriors against the novel coronavirus.

It is the club’s way of honouring the frontline warriors who are combating the pandemic, Raju Sahani, a member of the club, said.

“For over seven months now, doctors and others associated with healthcare, the police force, the cleaning staff and mediapersons are working in their own diverse ways, tirelessly, to combat the pandemic that has infected over 77 lakh people and claimed the lives of over a lakh in our country. That is why we thought of honouring them by depicting the idols as frontline warriors,” Sahani said. 

While the idols have been presented as frontline workers, the entire pandal too, not surprisingly, sports a Covid-19 theme.

“On the outer side of the pandal, we have showcased nature and wildlife while the pandal on the inside models a hospital where the battle against the virus is going on,” added Sahani.

The goddess, who is in the doctor’s white coat, has an injection syringe and not the trident in her hand. 

As a doctor, she will use the syringe to slay the demon, that is, the novel coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

The organisers said that they took every preventive measure according to the order of the Calcutta High Court and safety protocols stated by the state government to prevent crowds and ensure the safety of all those associated with the puja.

“No visitor would be allowed to enter the pandal and violate social distance rules. We have installed a sanitisation tunnel nearby. Thermal guns are checking the temperature of all, and anybody found without masks will be immediately given one,” said Sahani.

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