Struggle for Hindu Existence

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Kolkata’s Durga Puja nominated for Unesco list of Cultural Heritage.

India nominates Bengali Hindus’ largest festival Durga Puja for UNESCO heritage list under WB’s endorsement.

Biswajit Das | HENB | Kolkata | April 2, 2019:: The largest festival of Bengali Hindus, Durga Puja and its magnum epicenter in Kolkata has got India’s official nomination for UNESCO’s 2020 list of cultural institutions from around the world that require protection and preservation, according to Sangeet Natak Akademi, an autonomous body under the Union ministry of culture that is the nodal agency for this purpose. Durga Puja in Kolkata is no longer a religious festival of Hindus, rather has become a cultural and literary event as well.

“Durga Puja is the best instance of the public performance of religion and art in the city. It witnesses a celebration of craftsmanship, cross-cultural transactions and cross-community revelry,” the official website of the Akademi conveys.

It then goes on to mention how the autumnal festival appeals universally and does not “temporally bound itself to the ritual occasion”. “Its dynamism lies in it being a constantly mutating event – in its fusion of tradition with changing tastes and popular cultures, and in the adaptation of the iconographies of Durga and the styles of her temporary abodes to cater to new regimes of art production,” reads a note on the Akademi website.

Every year, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation adds to its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and Durga Puja, a ‘conglomeration of different cultures’ is India’s choice for its 2020 update, according to the Akademi website. India currently has 13 cultural traditions under the UNESCO list. While yoga was added to the list in 2016, Kumbh Mela became part of world heritage in 2017. “Sowa-Rigpa” commonly known as Tibetan system of medicine, was nominated for this year’s list.

Courtesy: TOI.

“Kolkata’s Durga Puja has developed a special artistic profile, which no other festival has with modern artists and designers coming together to produce a new urban art. This gives it a unique dimension,” said Professor Tapati Guha Thakuta who led a five -member research team in preparing the nomination dossier for the Akademi. As per TOI+, the West Bengal state government gave a letter of endorsement for inclusion of Durga Puja in UNESCO Heritage event list.

Durga Puja encompasses a 10-day worship of Goddess Durga who appears in her divine incarnation as ‘Mahishasuramardini’. Many families have been organizing Durga Puja for over 200 years. Barowari or community Pujas are organized by clubs in neighbourhoods across the city.

Tourism department officials said the Durga Puja carnival on Red Road, a brainchild of chief minister Mamata Banerjee, has made it synonymous with Kolkata globally.

“The festival secures its secular identity, embedding it in the contemporary global cultures of touring, spectacle, and entertainment,” said Prof. Guha Thakurta.

Not only that Sharadiya Durgotsav (Autumnal festivity of Durga worship) in Bengal leads an extraordinary publications of Bengali, Musical albums, releases of Bengali cinemas, arrivals of new design of saris & dresses and food fusions.

Apart from West Bengal, Bengalis residing in abroad and other Indian states also observe Sharadiya Durga Puja in a very unique way of magnificent celebration.

__inputs from Agencies.


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April 2019
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