This year, the Durga Puja in Kolkata is all set to get a Chinese makeover. Communist China in its effort to strengthening cultural and commercial ties with Bengal has decided to sponsor the oldest community Durga Puja in Salt Lake township. The BJ Block puja is one of the notable community pujas in Kolkata where millions of people visit the Puja every year. The Chinese consulate, which is also situated in Salt Lake will sponsor BJ Block’s puja this year.
Though in the past and especially during the Doklam standoff the relationship between India and China has been less than amicable, the consulate has been consistent in their effort to get involved in the culture of Bengal. They have been giving prizes to Puja organizers in different categories in association with the Kolkata Police for the last couple of years.
This time, they have decided to expand the periphery of their involvement. They are not only going to sponsor BJ Block’s puja but also send a team of artists to Kunming in China’s Yunnan province, where these artists will get master classes in designs inspired by Chinese architecture. The idea is, the entire theme, from the gates to the deity will represent Chinese art forms. The plans for which, are still being firmed up.
Consul general, Ma Zhanwu commented on the transcending religious threshold that Durga Puja embodies and how the Chinese consulate has become quite involved in this festival in the last few years.
Consul General also pointed out their previous engagements with the festival, he stated –
“Last year, we gave away safety awards to the organizers who were able to showcase immaculate safety preparedness inside their pandals. While last year we sent these organizers for a trip to China, this year we are likely to bring a slice of China to a Durga Puja pandal for everyone to enjoy.”
The secretary of BJ Block puja committee Umashankar Ghosh Dastidar is a happy man as he spoke about the ambitious project and how the talks with the consulate are still going on. The BJ Block ties up with different state governments every year to showcase that particular state’s cultural heritage.
According to Dastidar, people will be able to experience authentic Chinese culture including, dragon dance and Chinese flute music at their Puja.