Sunday, October 24, 2004


Bengal's greatest festival has evolved - or devolved, I'm not sure - to be a mega-event with all glitter and no soul. Sans any humanistic spirit, it has reduced itself to a mindless splurge.

Themed pujas are the order of the day. The organisers select a theme, often innovative and artistic, and spend lakhs of money to build it up, and spare just a small space to house the idol - marginalising it along the way.

This year I saw on TV a pandal the shape of a huge football in which the idol was placed. The theme was to promote the game of football, said the organisers of the puja. A good cause, no doubt, specially in these times when the cricket has cornered such a wonderful game, but how does it relate itself to the essence of the puja?

Gone are the days when the images were made of clay only. To bring novelty in images, they are now using any material - from pencils to marbles to cashewnut.

Perhaps only the Hindu religion can allow such flippant and derogatory attitudes!

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