Not Jawed Habib, Bongs Have Been “Insulting” Durga Since Decades

Puja special books and magazines have been depicting the goddess as one of the mortals for a long time now.

3 min read
Covers of pujabarshikis <i>Shonamanik </i>and <i>Anandamela</i>.

Hair stylist Jawed Habib recently found himself in the middle of a troll storm when an ad campaign showing the goddess visiting his salon with her retinue went viral. A case was registered against him for “insulting and demeaning” Hindu gods. Of course. Habib is Muslim after all.

In an age when every mundane thing goes “viral” and every social media user has tonnes of opinion about everything under the sun - not to mention the superpower to harass and troll without having to face any consequences - this comes as no surprise.

But Mr K Karuna Sagar, the advocate who registered the case against Jawed Habib at Saidabad police station, should perhaps have looked at facts first. Rabid fanaticism is great but you should at least take a good look at who or what you are fighting for.

Because Bengal has had a long, long tradition of humanising its most favourite deity, the goddess Durga. The 10-handed goddess is worshipped as much as a demon-slayer as a daughter returning for four days to her parents’ home.

Eminent painter Jamini Roy (1887-1972) of course might have arguably set off a trend when he depicted Durga primarily as a mother - as Ganesh janani.

<i>Ganesh Janani</i> by Jamini Roy.
Ganesh Janani by Jamini Roy.
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Chitrakoot Art Gallery)

And pujabarshikis (magazines and books published specifically to mark the festival every year) have been portraying the goddess as one of the mortals - playing, going on a boat ride or taking selfies - since decades.

Check it out:

<i>Anandamela</i>, 1978
Anandamela, 1978
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Dhulokhela)
<i>Shuktara</i>, 1985
Shuktara, 1985
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Dhulokhela)
<i>Shonamanik</i>, 1993
Shonamanik, 1993
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Dhulokhela)
<i>Anandamela</i>, 2014
Anandamela, 2014
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ ABP Pujabarshiki)
<i>Anandamela</i>, 2015
Anandamela, 2015
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ ABP Pujabarshiki)
<i>Kishore Bharati</i>, 2015
Kishore Bharati, 2015
Photo courtesy: Facebook/ Patra Bharati)
<i>Anandabazar Patrika</i>, 2017
Anandabazar Patrika, 2017
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ ABP Pujabarshiki)
<i>Anandamela</i>, 2017
Anandamela, 2017
(Photo courtesy: Facebook/ ABP Pujabarshiki)

So dear Mr Sagar, obliged as we are to you for adding to the insurmountable load of our courts, thoda chill! Our goddess doesn’t mind, so why should you?

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