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PSA for All: Durga Puja is Not Navaratri and Please Don't Ask a Bengali to Not Eat Fish

There is a very talked-about announcing in Bengali, ‘Baaro maashey tairo parbon’. It interprets to one thing like this- in three hundred and sixty five days, there are 13 gala’s. All three hundred and sixty five days of our calendar are affected by dates and days for celebrations. It’s this festive variety this is regularly eulogised in postcards, political speeches, songs and popular culture. However in recent years, there is a pattern of cultural homogenisation, particularly right through gala’s. The newest instance of this may also be observed within the Fortune commercial controversy in Bengal.

Durga Puja, the Bengali cousin of the North Indian Navratri stems from the worship of ‘avatars’ of the similar goddess – Durga or Shera Wali. On the other hand, having advanced within the Japanese state of Bengal, Durga Puja has its personal flavour, its personal laws, which can be rather distinct from Navratri. This can be a carnivalesque birthday party that is going on for nearly every week and engulfs all the town. It isn’t a replication of Navratri however moderately a changed counterpart of the similar, made ordinary via the specific peculiarities of the Bengali other folks.

So it’s no nice wonder then when a bit of so-called ‘Hindu’ activists demanded and gained an apology from Fortune for making an commercial starring a Bong couple consuming indulging in some ‘sinful’ fish consuming on Navami, many Bengalis had been mighty indignant.

Whilst the questionable fringe staff, Hindu Janjagrut Samiti campaigned in opposition to the commercial with the intent to boycott Fortune for it is ‘egregious’ attack at the Hindu religion, many in Bengal cried foul on the obtrusive try of cultural (and culinary) appropriation. As a result of whilst there are, in fact, vegetarian (and now even vegan) Bengalis, a majority folks devour meat and fish, the latter being nearly a staple. In truth, we do not simply devour the fish, we like consuming the fish – it is not simply meals, it is past. Fish is a lifestyle in Bengal, just like Pujo. It’s subsequently unthinkable for many Bengalis to think about the 2 as mutually unique.

If in case you have ever lived in Kolkata, you are going to know that Durga Puja hasn’t ever been a spiritual pageant. This can be a pageant that the general public within the state, together with Muslims and migrants from different states, rejoice with equivalent fervour. Additionally it is now not restricted to the worship of a deity. Pujo way many stuff to many of us in Bengal – a time for devotion, a time to let one’s hair down, a time to shop for new garments and parade them in overcrowded pandals. It additionally, invariably, is a time to gorge. Meals is an very important a part of Bengal’s rubric and rather a little of its culinary tradition is primarily based and derived from fish and meat.

Once a year, Durga Puja is a chance for eating places to make a couple of further greenbacks or even small-scale eateries regularly wish to arrange two further roadside stalls to satisfy the higher call for. And out of revel in, the collection of non-vegetarian meals stalls and eating places is invariably extra. Whilst maximum North Indians, together with younger other folks, actively take part in fasting, in Bengal the tradition of fasting and ‘niramish’ (vegetarian) is a little other.

psa for all durga puja is not navaratri and please dont ask a bengali to not eat fish - PSA for All: Durga Puja is Not Navaratri and Please Don't Ask a Bengali to Not Eat Fish

It isn’t important for other folks to look at rapid on all 9 days of Navratri. Fairly, the general public practice a vegetarian vitamin (in the event that they need to) on Shoshti and Ashtami (the 6th and 8th day). The remainder of the times are in large part non-vegetarian and consuming meat on Navami, the 9th day is in reality normal. Whilst some households that host ‘bonidibari’ or conventional pujas at house would possibly stave off the cooking of meat within the home for the span of the Pujo, those traditions range from circle of relatives to circle of relatives.

In truth, many Puja pandals themselves distribute meat to devotees on Navami, the 9th day of the pageant. In some equivalent conventional house pujas, there additionally exists the follow of animal sacrifice. Sacrificing goats on the altar has been given as an providing each right through Navami of Durga Puja and Kali Puja. Whilst the cruelty of the follow has raised questions on its continuance in fashionable instances, it is going directly to end up that meat has all the time been part of Durga Puja.

The truth that essentially the most fed on meals pieces right through the pageant come with barbecue, egg roll, hen fried rice and mutton kosha, all don-vegetarian dishes, is indicative of the years of customized consuming that Bengal has advanced. To return right here and cry foul over ‘consecration’ of Hinduism because of meat consuming is as unusual as going to Australia and announcing you hate the ocean or going to New York and announcing you hate sizzling canine. This can be a needless waste of positive dialogue area and an insult to the secularity of Bengal.

However sure sections have for a while now been looking to introduce discord and non secular morality into the another way nearly Bacchanalian birthday party of feminine energy and gaity this is Durga Puja. Keep in mind the talk in opposition to an egg roll recipe video ultimate Puja? To these sections, that is an earnest request, expressly from a Bengali from Kolkata on Pujo: Durga Puja isn’t Navratri, it by no means was once. Bengalis love meat, they all the time did. Is not an try to vilify one thing so intrinsically a part of Bengal and it is inhabitants, Hindu or another way, an ‘egregious’ assault on religion too? Durga Puja, above all, is a party of power – a power which is able to regularly be discovered inside of oneself, in a single’s neighborhood and within the variety of India.

Campaigning in opposition to meat consuming right through Puja is thus not anything however a political try to paint an another way multi-hued pageant right into a homogeneous saffron. And similar to Bengalis do not bitch about consuming vegetarian fare on Navratri days or grooving to the Garba beat, we would really like if establishments one of these Hindu Janjagrut Samiti would allow us to rejoice Puja how it was once intended to be – with a lot of color, mirth, and meat. I relaxation my case.

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