After UNESCO’s recognition to Durga Puja, West Bengal’s biggest cultural event, Kolkata organisers are reaching out to foreign dignitaries and diplomats in the city to promote the festival among their countrymen.
On Mahalaya, the day when Durga Puja begins, several organisers curated events across the ciuty to take the Durga Puja to a wider audience globally.
UNESCO’s inclusion of Durga Puja on the list of ‘Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ has led to the promotion of the festival on the lines of international events like the Rio Carnival.
At the 14 Pally Udayan Sangha Puja pandal, the consuls-general of Australia, Japan, Italy and Germany shared their experiences about Durga Puja.
Consul-General of Japan Nakagawa Koichi told NDTV, “I am very honoured to have this wonderful opportunity on the day of the inauguration of the festival of Durga Puja. I am experiencing and feeling more and more about the culture and heritage of people in Bengal.”
Consul-General of Italy, Gianluca Rubagotti said, “I am very happy to be here for the inauguration of this pandal. I am happy to see that after the UNESCO recognition there will be a lot of activities going on and a lot of people will be on the streets. I wish you all the best for the festival.
German Consul-General Isolde Aust said, ” I am happy to be here and see so many people present. The pandemic isn’t yet over but we can celebrate together such a beautiful festival and congratulation for the recognition by the UNESCO and have a wonderful Durga Puja.”
The organiser of the Puja, Trinamool Congress spokesperson Biswajit Deb, told NDTV that, “This is a cultural event for the city transcending traditional boundaries. In our organising committees, we have Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. Everybody is here, and we all work together to make it a grand success. We are proud of the recognition from the UNESCO, and this is due to the efforts of our Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.”
Trinamool MP Saugata Roy said, “Durga Puja is recognised as a cultural event throughout the world. The UNESCO tag will give an international dimension to the puja. Many more people are going to visit Kolkata over the next few days. Like Rio Carnival, Kolkata’s Durga Puja will become an internationally recognised event.”
The effort of the state government is to promote the Durga Puja in Kolkata around the theme that it’s a multi-faith, multinational, multi-language, multi-ethnicity cultural event.
A theme that TMC leaders, who organise several puja pandals in the city, often repeat – “Religion is personal, but the celebration is for everyone.”
On Mahalaya, while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee inaugurated over 260 pujas physically and virtually, she also debuted as a singer in her latest album of special songs, titled ‘Utsaver Gaan’. She has not just sung a song ‘Dhak dumadum’, along with singer-turned-politician Indranil Sen and Aditi Munshi, but has also penned the lyrics of all the songs and composed the music.