A Durga idol sparked controversy when the Mahisasura (Buffalo demon) was replaced by a Mahatma Gandhi-look alike. A police complaint was filed against Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, the organisers of the puja over the controversial idol.
Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, organisers of the puja near Ruby Crossing, Kolkata, West Bengal changed the idol’s appearance, following instructions from the police after a complaint was lodged. The organisers said the similarities were a coincidence and remade the idol so it no longer resembled Gandhi.
Mahatma Gandhi-Look Alike Durga Idol
The state working president Chandrachur Goswami told Press Trust of India (PTI), “After photos of it went viral, a police team visited the pandal and asked us to change the face.” He added that the organisation did not intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments.
Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha obliged with the police’s instructions and added hair and a moustache to the controversial idol.
Journalist Indradeep Bhattacharyya tweeted a photograph of the Mahatma Gandhi-look alike Durga idol and tagged the Kolkata Police. He later deleted the post, claiming that the police asked him to remove his tweet as it could create tension during the festival. Bhattacharyya wrote, “As a responsible citizen I abide by their request,” in a new tweet.
Political parties slammed the controversial idol which drew condemnation. Trinamool Congress state spokesperson Kunal Ghosh said, “It is an insult to the Father of the Nation. It is an insult to every citizen of the country.”
Bharatiya Janta Party state president Sukanta Majumdar said, “If such a move has been made, it is unfortunate. We condemn it. This is in poor taste.”
Puja organisers chose a theme each year, mainly social issues, and use their pandals, idols, and lighting arrangements to depict the theme. The traditional Mahisasura is often replaced by something that represents a social evil.
In mythology, Durga slew Mahisasura in a battle, and the Durga idol depicted the Goddess killing the demon.
This year, a Durga puja pandal decided to bring light to the struggles sex workers face and why it is important to value their profession and choice.
The Nawpara Dadabhai Sangh Puja Committee's pandal was themed as 'Parichay', which means identity.
Suggested Reading: How Kolkata Durga Puja Pandal Theme Parichay Honours Sex Workers In Society