FaithTech Series: London evaluates Durga Puja in lockdown

FaithTech Series: London evaluates Durga Puja in lockdown

Amid the coronavirus lockdown, London-based organisations Bengal Heritage Foundation (BHF) and London Sharad Utsav have come together to utilise the digital platform with a new Think Tank? initiative.

The concept is to bring thinkers and audience from all around the globe on a single platform to talk about topics that are relevant to the times. To start with, a series of webinars organised by BHF in partnership with London Sharad Utsav and the British Council will cover various topics addressing the current pandemic situation, designed to connect people with a shared interest in the arts, culture and Indian heritage.

The first topic for the Think Tank webinar is Coronasurmardini? echoing the Mahisasurmardini? theme of the Goddess Durga's victory over evil this weekend, broadly covering the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Durga Puja globally in 2020.

The organisers, who are also joined by Ahiritola Sarbojonin, Bhowanipore 75 Pally, Ballygunge Cultural Association, Wales Pujo Committee, Cardiff, and Sujan Durgotsav Dublin Durga Pujo Committee, can see that the annual puja festivities are under threat due to the lockdown and the situation remains volatile and uncertain.

The worry is palpable and the fear quite real. In this context, the single most important question that is doing the rounds in all Bengali minds across the globe is: what will happen to pujo this year?

The webinar session, available in different countries in line with social distancing norms, will address some of these major concerns.

We would like to understand the impact of the Covid pandemic on various important players during the pujo like the Kumartuli idol makers of Bengal, Chandannagar lighting teams, security taskforce, street-food sellers like phuchkawalas, the Dhakis, the pandal makers and various others whose livelihood hugely depends on the year's biggest celebrations.
How would they be impacted if pujo happens at a very reduced scale compared to other years?
by Bidisha Datta
Bidisha Datta is a member of the Bengal Heritage Foundation and coordinator of Coronasurmardini.

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