Durga Puja is just two days away but this year the extravagant puja pandals depicting architectural marvels of the world or the offbeat ones are not there in West Bengal or in any other parts of the country. Durga Puja organizers have instead chosen the sudden Covid lockdown triggered migrant crisis and the 'coronavirus' as themes for the pandals. Migrants and the coronavirus have emerged as the dominant puja pandal themes and decorations in Kolkata and the districts. In West Bengal Durga Puja is celebrated with great fervour and the festivities continue for days.
Artists have tried to capture scenes that had frequently appeared on television - migrant labourers with little children walking on highways - as the main decorative panels in the pandals. Many pandals have paid tribute to the 'corona warriors' in blue PPE suits. At some pandals, Goddess Durga is seen destroying Mahisasura, the demon, looking like the 'coronavirus.
In Kolkata's Naktala Udayan Sangha, a big community puja, a truck has been put up near the entrance of the pandal with clay models of migrant labourers, desperately trying to climb up the vehicle. "Our pandal is called 'waves'. It reflects the waves of returning migrants from different corners. We have employed migrant labourers from different districts to portray the theme," Anjan Das, an organizser told n news agency Press Trust of India.
Due to the Covid crisis, it's a low-key Durga Puja in Bengal this year. Artists and idol makers say, earnings are extremely poor unlike other years when they made profits during the festive season.
Moved by the plight of idol makers due to the pandemic, woman in Asansol has taken to crowdfunding to support 300 clay artisans in Paschim Barddhaman district. Richa Roy, 29, aims to raise Rs 20 lakh for the idol makers in Asansol, Kulti, Barakar, Chittaranjan and Durgapur areas over the next four-and-half months. She has raised Rs 40,000 so far on the crowdfunding platform ''Milaap''.
(Inputs from PTI & ANI)