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    West Bengal to WC1


    by Rohin on 3rd September, 2006 at 1:37 pm    

    Ahoy there picklers! Remember me? I know you’ve all been dreaming about the day I returned and crying yourself to sleep each day I didn’t post. There there, I’m back now. True to form, I re-surface in time for a party, so happy birthday Pickled Politics!

    Last night I was having dinner with the secretary of the West Bengal Crafts Council don’t-you-know, and she was telling me all about her project in association with the British Museum in London. The Museum is running a season entitled Voices of Bengal, which began in August and continues until the 7th of January oh seven.

    Right now craftsmen the Crafts Council have brought over from West Bengal are constructing an 18ft Durga in the gorgeous Great Court of the British Museum. The entire process is open to the public and I never realised quite how much goes into the creation of these beautiful deities; I’m going to write a bit about it soon. Incidentally, the workers - or pals - were not allowed to bring their own clay and straw - the main raw material for the goddess - so this Durga will be a Scottish lady as that’s where the clay and straw have come from.

    The pratima will be completed in time for Durga Puja, which is the biggest event in the Bengali Hindu calendar, at which point it will be transferred to Camden Town Hall (for many years the site of the main Durga Puja celebrations in London) and finally it will be immersed at Putney with the Thames acting as a neo-Ganga on the 27th of September. Do take a look at any point until then if you get the chance, it’s a fantastic sight.

    Whilst you’re there, why not enjoy the rest of the Voices of Bengal season. Two exhibitions will be running from mid-September: Myths of Bengal and The art of peace: Paintings by Tagore (never previously exhibited). The Myths display will include the 13 metre Gazi scroll (pictured left) which recounts the story of the saint said to have brought Islam to Bengal.

    There are a host of talks, films, community and family events, study days and demonstrations. Highlights for me include lectures on pre-colonial Bengal’s cosmopolitan society, Bengali literature, films (which I won’t be able see as they’re screened too early) by Ghatak, Ray, Mrinal Sen, Roy and contemporaries like Aparna Sen and Rituparno Ghosh. Bangladeshi films are also featured.

    The Kolkata drummers that the Crafts Council are bringing over to perform at the Museum are also leading the Mayor’s Carnival (not sure of the date at present).

    To all you Londoners, find your inner Bengali and try to make a trip down to the British Musheum.



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    11 Comments below   |  

    1. BollywoodScum — on 3rd September, 2006 at 3:46 pm  

      The British Museum were also going to host this year’s Durga Puja Dusserah festival, but they had to scrap that plan after complaints from the Bangladeshi community that it showed favouritism to Hindus.

      http://www.londonpuja.com/

      Not that any of those complaining would ever put a tikka mark on their foreheads to turn up for the free food of course.

    2. Jagdeep — on 3rd September, 2006 at 6:10 pm  

      The British Museum were also going to host this year’s Durga Puja Dusserah festival, but they had to scrap that plan after complaints from the Bangladeshi community that it showed favouritism to Hindus

      What??

      That is pathetic, absolutely pathetic.

    3. Jagdeep — on 3rd September, 2006 at 6:23 pm  

      Although having said that, is it a surprise? Communalism and sectarianism clouds all Asian communities, but some things are especially egregious, and for some reason, that seems especially so.

    4. DesiPundit — on 3rd September, 2006 at 10:10 pm  

      Voices of Bengal…

      Right now craftsmen the Crafts Council have brought over from West Bengal are constructing an 18ft Durga in the gorgeous Great Court of the British Museum. The entire process is open to the public and I never realised quite how much goes into the creat…

    5. fotzepolitic — on 3rd September, 2006 at 10:17 pm  

      My and my outer Bengali (the hubby) showed up at the British Museum on the supposed first day of the Durga exhibit (Aug 12), only to find out that they hadn’t finished installing it yet and it wasn’t open. Typical Indian Time! ;) Let me know if you’re making a trip soon, we’ll all drag along some of our mutual inner-Guju associates and make a day of it, yeah?

    6. Kobayashi Khan — on 3rd September, 2006 at 10:56 pm  

      “The British Museum were also going to host this year’s Durga Puja Dusserah festival, but they had to scrap that plan after complaints from the Bangladeshi community that it showed favouritism to Hindus”

      Thats truly pathetic. Very shameful behaviour, its sad that this kind of nonsense still goes on.

    7. sunray — on 4th September, 2006 at 8:56 am  

      The British Museum were also going to host this year’s Durga Puja Dusserah festival, but they had to scrap that plan after complaints from the Bangladeshi community that it showed favouritism to Hindus.

      Sunny
      Dont you think that the Durga pooja should continue.
      How about doing something or raise your voices to make sure it continues.
      Having sympathies will not end blantant racism.

    8. Kismet Hardy — on 4th September, 2006 at 9:55 am  

      I disagree with Rohin

    9. lost soul — on 5th September, 2006 at 6:58 pm  

      The British Museum were also going to host this year’s Durga Puja Dusserah festival, but they had to scrap that plan after complaints from the Bangladeshi community that it showed favouritism to Hindus.

      Although not surprised of the complaints. I question the Bengali channels on Sky network of the lack representations Bengal has a whole. Prejudism is our greatest enemy.

      Grow up! Wake Up! & shake up

    10. Ranjit Mukherjee — on 15th September, 2006 at 2:21 pm  

      After all millions of Hindus live in Bangladesh and celebrate Durga Puja. Does it mean Islaminism is trying to control every aspect of our lives - what a shame!

    11. Jav — on 15th September, 2006 at 3:06 pm  

      In reference to point 10 above, I think it’s really a shame that Bangladesh has become so radicalised in recent decades, this has made life worse (especially for the Hindu minority). In reference to the Bengali channels on Sky network, these are Bangladeshi are they not? I may be prejudiced, but West Bengalis have tended to integrate quite well into this country however in doing so, it has diminished their social network structure, cultural traditions, festivities etc.

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