Ahead of the Durga Puja celebrations that are scheduled to commence next month, the political and religious propaganda surrounding the annual festival has already begun.
On September 2, renowned Bengali artist Sanatan Dinda posted a picture of a woman, clad in a head covering (hijab) and a face veil (niqab), on Facebook. The contentious drawing was sketched using charcoal dry pastel and was accompanied with the caption ‘Maa aschen’. The phrase of ‘Ma aschen’ is a Bengali reference to the homecoming of Goddess Durga to her maternal home. It is used to describe the curiosity and joy that is felt in anticipation of the Hindu festival.
The picture, posted by visual artist Sanatan Dinda, drew the ire of netizens for its portrayal of the Goddess in Hijab. BJP Mahila Morcha Vice-President Keya Ghosh wrote, “Maa Durga in hijab… by artist Sanatan Dinda.”
“Maa Durga in hijab”— Keya Ghosh (@keyakahe) September 14, 2021
By artist Sanatan Dinda. He knows he can get away with it because many intellectual Bengalis are going gaga over it.@Rajput_Ramesh @MODIfiedVikas kindly look into it. @HinduITCell
Fb link- https://t.co/kzPc7ATwKG pic.twitter.com/srSZ7y3Mfj
She pointed out, “He knows he can get away with it because many intellectuals Bengalis are going gaga over it.” The BJP leader had sought the help of the Hindu IT Cell, ex-Shiv Sena leader Rajput Ramesh and architect Vikas Pandey.
Netizens slam artist Sanatan Dinda, claim he revealed the future of West Bengal
A disgusted Twitter user (@vighosh) pointed out the irony in the name of the artist. “And his name is Sanatan,” he wrote.
Another Twitter user, wrote, “He has drawn the future of West Bengal. Nothing else.” He suggested that women of all Faith will eventually be forced to wear Hijab, irrespective of their Faith.
“What the hell is this now”, wrote another user in disbelief.
“He has drawn the future of the State. The tears in the eyes of the woman in the sketch has given us insight into what the future beholds,” another user lamented.
Azaan played in pandal during Durga Puja in 2019
In October 2019, a video of azaan (the Muslim call to prayer) being played at a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata’s Beliaghata 33 Pally area sparked outrage on social media. Users lashed out at the organisers calling it “appeasement” and slamming their “desperation to show secularism”. Following this, a local lawyer filed a complaint and named ten people, including the club secretary of the puja pandal and local TMC leader Paresh Paul. Reportedly, Pal was the primary organiser of this community Puja.
The community Durga Puja at Beleghata’s 33 Pally (in south-central Kolkata) was playing a recording of azaan since the festivities commenced on Maha Panchami. The complaint alleged that 10 people, including local Trinamool Congress leader Paresh Paul, intentionally tried to “disturb the peace and tranquillity in the state” by playing a video of the azaan during the puja. Many viewed playing azaan from the venue of the puja as ridiculous and felt it was a deliberate and mischievous act to hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus.