Coronavirus, a dreadful reality, cast its vile shadow over the entire world and Indian festivals like Durga Puja are no exception. The concept of ‘where life is without fear’ reshape – fear has become the new normal as COVID-19 cases rise each day.
Durga Puja is a festival of people, a festival of reunion, a festival of unity. It is a festival of love, of lights, of fun and of starting life afresh. Bengal patiently craves the four days every year. This year, the festival will be from 23rd to 26th October. Naturally this year, there is a strict restriction to all spheres of enjoyment for the greater good of safety from COVID-19. Naturally, the excitement for the festival fell drastically. Yet, somewhere deep inside, the people of Bengal want to celebrate happily with a free spirit.
But the recent months, with deaths recorded every single day, haunt human existence relentlessly. With each festival celebrated in crowds, there was a rise of COVID-19 same happened with the hands-on results or repercussions of public if they don’t adhere to the set of safety rules during Durga Puja.
Public health, a major concern this Durga Puja
Doctors are also showing serious concern for public health when it comes the visit to puja pandels and crowds on the during the puja days.
Durga Puja complements the concept of ‘shopping with flying colours’. This time during the pandemic, the scene is bit off-shade. But in places like Esplanade, Dharmatala and other famous market places, huge crowds contineu to form without following social distancing norms. It is indeed an alarming sign of a possible increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.
COVID-19 Pandemic: A halt to Durga Puja rituals and customs
Due to the pandemic, the West Bengal government banned cultural programs and performances as a precaution. Also, wearing masks while visiting idols is mandatory. Furthermore, pandals should be open from all four sides. Also, the organisers should provide hand sanitizers for the visitors.
COVID-19 creates a question ‘To be or Not to Be’!
Artisans at Kumartuli, Kolkata, are also in a dilemma. With the rise of alarming situation, the glamour of Durga Puja has faded away for sure. No big pre-orders came for idols, even in famous clubs in Bengal.
Even when we see advertisements, the concern about public health is visible. Lifebuoy is spreading public awareness to stay safe and aware during this Durga Puja. At the time of celebrations though, it is unlikely that people will guide or warn each other as they get caught up too.
A petition is filed in Calcutta High Court to stop the Durga Puja celebrations this 2020 keeping in mind of the increasing number of active cases in West Bengal.
Whether the court passes the Understanding the situation and acting wise & safe is the need of the hour.
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