Come Puja, Chappell will be Mahisasura!
Press Trust of India
Kolkata, August 29, 2006
With Sourav Ganguly's return to the Indian cricket team still uncertain, a local puja organiser is seeking divine intervention by depicting coach Greg Chappell as the demon 'Mahisasura' during next month's Durga Puja.
A prominent sculpor of Kumartuli, where Durga images are scuplted, has been asked by a North Kolkata puja organiser to depict the Australian as Mahisasura, the evil demon who is eliminated by Goddess Durga.
"The people in our locality have very strong sentiments against Chappell for his role in omitting of Ganguly from the Indian team and that is why we have decided to depict Chappell as Mahisasura this year," a member of the Deshbandhu Road Puja committee in Baranagar said.
"Ganguly is very dear to us and we want to express our sentiments in this manner," another member of the committee said.
Depiction of topical events at the puja mandaps (pandals) is a common practice in Kolkata during Durga Puja, the biggest festival of Bengal scheduled in 2006 for the last week of September.
Dilip Pal, the sculptor in Kumartuli, who has been assigned the task of making Mahisasura look like Chappell, sees nothing wrong in depicting the batting legend as evil personified.
"Every year we get requests from puja organisers to make images depicting some recent events and this year it is the Ganguly-Chappell issue," Pal said.
Interestingly, Pal is also making an image depicting the infamous head-butt by French footballing icon Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup for another puja committee.
Pal, however, said that his depiction of Chappell as Mahisasura would not be in the traditional manner as the Australian was a guest in India.
"Chappell will not be shown being killed by the Goddess but he will be shown dressed in trouser and jacket standing before the goddess asking for forgiveness," he said.
Goddess Durga would be shown in an angry mood directing the Aussie to bring back Ganguly in the Indian team, Pal said adding, "this is simply the sentiments of the people about Ganguly."
The organisers have also planned to design the entire pandal depiciting the sport theme in 2006.
Speaking about his other creation this year, Pal said that as a football lover, he considered Zidane's act as 'unsporting' and that is why "I decided to oblige another puja organiser in the outsirts of the city."
Pal's logic, however, did not go down well with football crazy Kolkatans, including Subrata Dutta, secretary of Indian Football Association, the governing body of the game in the state.
"I feel sad about this. A great player like Zidane does not deserve this from us who claim to be football lovers," Dutta said when approached for his comments.
He also said that people should not forget Zidane's contributions to the game and, "even if his act was a blemish, we should not forget under what provocation it was done.
"Depicting a player like Zidane like this only lowers our image."