Durga Puja pandals become platform to highlight socio-political concerns, as Kolkata artists play with material and ideas

  • Over the years, pandals have transformed into bonafide examples of Bengal's artistic might.

  • The platform of Durga Puja has been repeatedly used to draw people's attention to pressing socio-political and environmental issues.

  • Larger than life pandals across Kolkata drew millions of people through the week.

As the week-long carnival of Durga Puja winds up, the stunning marquees or pandals across Bengal begin to get dismantled, giving way to a year-long wait for the goddess, yet again. However, over the years, these makeshift structures have transformed into bona fide examples of Bengal's artistic might. The platform of Durga Puja has been used many times to draw people's attention to pressing socio-political issues, besides recreating film sets, famous monuments, real geographical locations, or even abstract concepts of art.

This year was no different. Clubs and puja committees across Kolkata voiced their concerns for the environment and society through creative channels, building larger-than-life pandals and idols of the goddess that drew millions through the week.

'Tomaader barchhe goti, amader durgoti' ('As you flourish, we suffer')

The brainchild of artist Rintu Das, the pandal by Kolkata's Barisha Club explores the impact of radiation and environmental damage on birds. The entire structure is made of recyclable material like clay and paper, with the idol being carved out of a single piece of wood. The telecommunication tower incorporated in the pandal's design is a real one.

 Durga Puja pandals become platform to highlight socio-political concerns, as Kolkata artists play with material and ideas

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'Global warming'

Brought to life by artist Somnath Mukhopadhyay, Santoshpur Lake Pally's pandal reflects on the most pressing global concern of the hour. The artwork draws attention to the perils of using plastic, and highlights other sources of pollution.

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'2091'

Yet another one of Rintu Das's creations, Dumdum Park Tarun Sangha's pandal imagines the year 2091 in 2019, and does not shy away from presenting the horrors of a dystopian future. In this bizarre world of neon lights and concrete skies, even the goddess can't do without an oxygen mask.

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Image courtesy: Subhayan

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'Jontro na jontrona?' ('Technology or pain?')

Artists Rabin Mandal and Balaram Bhuiya's creation for Behala Buro Shibtola Janakalyan Sangha mulls over humanity's troubled relationship with technology. Having created a literal Frankenstein's monster, the pandal highlights man's growing dependence on his own creations, with the world gradually turning slave to technology.

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'Krishi Nirbhorota' ('Our dependence on farmers')

Barisha Sarbojanin's pandal pays tribute to farmers, who've been under constant duress for the past couple of years, with thousands resorting to committing suicide due to failing crops and piling debt. A creation of artist Gouranga Kuila, the pandal witnessed a footfall of close to 10 lakh through the week.

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Image courtesy: Chobiwala

Image courtesy: Chobiwala

Image courtesy: Chobiwala

Image courtesy: Chobiwala

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Updated Date: Oct 15, 2019 09:25:25 IST