October 7th, 2016
Mamata Banerjee’s Idol Replaces Maa Durga Idol
The grandeur of Durga Puja in Bengal cannot be pictured if you have never have been to the state. With state-of-the-art themes and some remarkable concepts, the pandals, the idols and the lightings are treats to the eyes.
However, a puja in Chakdah, a suburban town in Bengal, has drawn the ire of many for crossing the limits of sycophancy. They have modelled their idol of ‘Durga Maa’ on Bengal’s chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. The idol can be seen draped in the signature white-and-blue-border saree and wearing her slippers. The 10-hand fibreglass Idol showcases the politician holding symbols indicating towards the various government schemes she introduced in the state during her ongoing tenure. At her feet is a depiction of villagers of Singur celebrating in front of Tata Motor’s half-built factory. The idol has been sculpted by national award winning artisan Subir Pal.
A separate Durga idol has been placed a few feet away; it looks like a dwarf compared to taller Mamata. The organisers felt this to be showing respect to the chief minister and to highlight the government’s achievements.
This is not a single case, another idol in Kolkata’s Bhawanipore area has created a controversy by featuring a woman draped in a blue-border-white-saree, resembling Mamata Banerjee, offering flowers to the goddess.
Calling the Mamata idol “unprecedented and preposterous”, left leader Satarup Ghosh said: “Historically, leaders with dictatorial tendencies fan this personality cult. Worse. Mamata Banerjee is politicising Bengal’s biggest festival and its culture.”
The Logical Indian take
Depicting our politicians, Bollywood celebrities and cricketers as gods and demi-gods is nothing new in this country. Giving them this indisputable stature is a kind of espousing that they are infallible and are perfect.
Even Indira Gandhi was dubbed as ‘Ma Durga’ in the speech of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee after the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. Statues of Mayawati have been erected in Noida memorial to honour Dalit icons. In Tamil Nadu, pujas are celebrated where idols are modelled on Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, and she is revered as a goddess even after she got involved in disproportionate assets case. Congress party president Sonia Gandhi’s temple is in Andhra Pradesh.
Last year, A temple dedicated to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with his statue was set up in a village in his home state Gujarat.
Such culture should be stopped and there should be a line drawn to the extent we idolise politicians. This kind of idolising will make our politicians complacent, and they will feel that they don’t need to improve.
Heroic reverence for someone is shared and acceptable in all the cultures. However, blunt sycophancy and making politician as gods and goddess give them absolute immunity from any criticism and scrutiny. They and their cult make them feel that they can do anything with impunity.
This culture of political worshiping is very dangerous for a democratic country like India, where corruption has become synonymous with politics.