The violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, Uttar Pradesh, during a farmers' protest has found an honorable mention in the theme of a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata's northern outskirts. On Mahalaya, the Dum Dum Park Bharat Chakra Puja Committee revealed its progressive pandal, which highlighted farm legislative agitation as well as the Lakhimpur Kheri bloodbath that occurred on Sunday.
On the entrance to the Dumdum Park Bharat Chakra pandal, a giant reproduction of a tractor being used by farmers to till soil depicts their struggle. The tractor's two wings are linked, symbolizing freedom from slavery.
The names of farmers who died in the course of the agitation have been written in chits of paper on the huge tractor, according to artist Anirban Das, who conceptualized the theme.
As you come in, you'll notice a sketch of a car and a farmer squatting on its route, along with the Bengali phrase "motorgari uray dhulo niche pore chashigulo," which translates as "the automobile leaves a swirl of dust while farmers collapse under its wheels."
Hundreds of sandals lie strewn across the pandal's floor, symbolizing scenes from protests in which demonstrators are confronted by police.
The slippers on the Durga Puja pandal's dividers represent scenarios from protests in which people are subjected to police action. Many posters with slogans in English and Bengali have been placed throughout the pandal. "We are farmers, not terrorists, farmers are food soldiers," reads one of the posters, while another reads "stand with Lakhimpur Kheri." The roof of the crucial pandal is ornamented with reproductions of paddy.
The secretary of the puja committee, Pratik Choudhury, explained that they wanted to bring attention to the mistreatment of farmers. "We tried to tell the tale of the farmers who provide us with the food," he said.
This isn't the first time that a Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata has reflected current socioeconomic and political issues. Last year, the Barisha Club in south Kolkata built a pandal to commemorate the calamity faced by migrant workers during the nationwide lockdown.
Navratri will likely be observed this year from October 7 to October 15. Durga Puja, also known as ‘Sashthi' (the sixth day of Navratri), is on October 11th, while Dashami falls on October 11th.