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Goddess Durga: Playing to the Gallery?

About the Idol of Mother Durga - On a Lighter Note


A humorous take on the peculiar stance and gesture of the Mother Goddess, Mahishasura and the lion as portrayed in the traditional clay idols of Durga.

I have been thinking about it for a few years now. About how Maa Durga looks, more often than not, uninterested in slaying the demon king, Mahishasura!

Bengalis, the world over, celebrate Durga Puja with the idol being the center of all festivities and attractions. There is a huge art factor in it as well. Special artists are employed to construct the 'perfect' artistic idol of the divinity and the demon. Thrown in is some bit of wildlife as well, for effects.

Notice if you will, carefully, how Maa Durga is actually playing to the crowds. She sometimes has a far-away look and sometimes looks as if she is eying the new saree or kurta that a Bangali might be wearing. Down below, of course, is the poor 'asur' who is emoting hard to save his life, which doesn't get spared, eventually. He is grimacing, his teeth are clenched, his muscles are flexed tight and you can even see his veins popping! Brandishing a fearsome sword, he is charging at Maa Durga or maybe at her steed. The lion also is totally charged, fangs and claws bared like Wolverine. But the Mother... she is just there for some sort of photo opportunity. Wonder why?

I wish she would at least acknowledge the poor soul at her feet, rather than stand in a salsa-like pose, with one of her 10 hands engaged in battle. It is not fair to Mahishasura!

And a quick mention of the poor lion. Most times, the lion has so many more teeth in his mouth that the bugger must not be able to close his gob ever! There are times, when the king of jungle looks like Jerry with mane, trying to scare Tom.

Let us think of some precision moments. When the footballer kicks the ball past the goalie, when a cricketer sends the ball over the crowds, when a gymnast goes into convoluted somersaults or when a sprinter chests the tape - that is not the time when they make eye contact with the crowd or pose. Maa Durga is always depicted in that precision moment and she, unfortunately, is not interested in what is happening by Her feet.

About the Author: Dev J Haldar is a communications specialist with wide experience in broadcasting, advertising and public relations. Dev's radio career spans India and the UAE. Filmstars, musicians, politicians, economists, business barons and artists have featured regularly on his immensely popular talk shows. Currently based in Dubai, he delivers lectures on communication, public relations, media and society and radio, apart from being involved in new course development in mass media and communication.

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