1. News

Durga Puja Pandal in Kolkata Displays Lakhimpur Kheri Incident, Farmers' Protest

The violence in Uttar Pradesh’s Lakhimpur Kheri during a farmers’ protest has found an honourable mention in the theme of a Durga Puja pandal in the northern fringes of Kolkata. The Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra Puja Committee unveiled their innovative pandal on Mahalaya, highlighting farm law agitation as well as Sunday’s Lakhimpur Kheri massacre.

Ayushi Raina
Durga Puja Pandal in Kolkata Displays Lakhimpur Kheri Incident
Durga Puja Pandal in Kolkata Displays Lakhimpur Kheri Incident

The theme of this year’s Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata's northern outskirts displayed the violence in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri during a farmers' protest. The Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra Puja Committee unveiled a creative pandal on Mahalaya, depicting the farm law agitation as well as the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre on Sunday.

At the entrance of the Dumdum Park Bharat Chakra pandal, a giant replica of a tractor used by farmers to plow land depicts their struggles. The tractor is equipped with two wings, which represent freedom from bondage labour.

The names of farmers who died during the agitation have been inscribed on chits of paper on the giant tractor, according to artist Anirban Das, who conceptualised the theme.

The sidewalks are adorned with a sketch of a car and a farmer laying on its path, accompanied by a sentence in Bengali — "motorgari uray dhulo niche pore chashigulo," which translates to "the car leaves behind a swirl of dust while farmers fall beneath its wheel."

Hundreds of sandals lie on the pandal's ground, depicting protest situations in which people confront police intervention. "The pandal depicts numerous farmer protests, ranging from the Tebhaga movement to more contemporary ones. Shoes in the pandal symbolize those who have been involved in these movements for a long time "The organiser was cited by news agency ANI as saying.

The slippers on the walls of the Durga Puja pandal represent protest scenarios in which people faced police action. (ANI)

A lot of posters with slogans in English and Bengali have been put across the pandal. One poster read, "We are farmers, not terrorists, farmers are food soldiers," while another said, "Stand with Lakhimpur Kheri." The main pandal is embellished with paddy replicas hanging from the ceiling.

Pratik Choudhury, secretary of the puja committee, stated that they intended to expose farmer exploitation. "We tried to tell the narrative of the farmers who provide us with food," he added.

"The recent incident in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri, in which four farmers were hit by a car and murdered during a protest, occurred just before our pandal was about to open. However, we incorporated it," Choudhury added.

This is not, however, the first time a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata has portrayed current socioeconomic and political concerns. The Barisha Club in south Kolkata erected its pandal last year in response to the migrant workers' crisis during the nationwide lockdown.

Navratri will be held this year from October 7 to October 15. Durga Puja, which commences on 'Sashthi' (the sixth day of Navratri), occurs on October 11, while Dashami is on October 15.

Share your comments

Subscribe to our Newsletter. You choose the topics of your interest and we'll send you handpicked news and latest updates based on your choice.

Subscribe Newsletters