Posts Tagged ‘Poush Mela

21
Dec
15

Shame on Santi (II)

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And life goes on.

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During this festive and busy time, shopkeepers, craftmen and other small businesses couldn’t stay idle. Their request to be spared until the end of the Poush Mela being denied, they had to find a way to make a living despite the unfair circumstances.

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So they came back to that same spot they’ve been occupying for days, months or even years.

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They came back taking a huge risk: the one to see all their belongings being seized, as the local police threatened them.

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Will the road be widened? Will new shops be built? What is the plan?

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Nothing has been officially announced yet but the it seems that those demolitions are just the tip of the iceberg that will definitely bury The Poet’s Abode of Peace deep into the past.

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19
Dec
15

Shame on Santi

L1160285Who ever has visited Santiniketan over the last few days, could witness a very sad face of Tagore’s abode of peace.

L1160315A few days back, the public artillery showed up with one objective: chase out the street vendors and put down any unauthorized shop whatsoever.

L1160290What was the excuse given? Mo-der-ni-za-tion. Bolpur-Santiniketan-Prantik will get a widen main road to welcome the hundreds of SUV which cross town at full speed regardless of traffic rules, other vehicles or pedestrians, especially on week-ends – when the famous sonibarer haat is held – and during holidays. And they still call it a “perfect rural getaway”, ironic!

L1160288The fact that this happened just a week away from Santiniketan’s most expected event – the Poush Mela which attracts, every year, thousand of visitors – makes it even more tragic. The shop keepers, used to the sudden crowd, prepared themselves by stocking more goods. They’ve been given no more than a 3 day notice to pack everything up and flee. Where they’ll keep their equipment and merchandise, that is up to them. What they will become in the upcoming days and weeks also.

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L1160320Those pictures were taken in Prantik, my own house’s closest market place. Prantik has really nothing to offer except a handy local train station. But so many kolkatans have established their secondary home there. Where will we go for our daily groceries, that isn’t really my main concern.

L1160321While I was there, memorizing what was left of once vivid Prantik Market, a man took me aside and requested me to show those pictures in my country. “Tell them the kind of problems we’re facing here”. Actually it’s here that I want to show those images so that whoever is responsible for this realizes that, whereas most countries, including India, are fighting against poverty and unemployment, they just put hundreds of honest people out of business.

L1160308But this is India, Incredible India as the official propaganda says. People won’t stay distraught for long! They’ll clean up the mess and accommodate themselves with the new décors. Adda – a local tradition – must go on!

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L1160318A question remain… Why so suddenly? Why transforming lovely Santiniketan in a battlefield so soon before the Mela? That’s my wonder… Rumor has that India’s most beloved movie star – “Big B” as in nothing less than Amitabh Bachchan – who very recently spent a few hours in “The abode of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore” did not really enjoy what he saw: poverty, dirtiness, shambles,… even his hotel room wasn’t up to his standards. For that last one, we won’t blame him… Have you seen the Camelia incongruity?!

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06
Jan
11

পৌষ মেলা (poush mela)

Poush Mela (পৌষ মেলা), annual festival mixing folk performances, handicraft stalls, odorous and greasy food, unbridled  and rusty fun fair, is held on the Bengali month of Poush (23-25 December 2010), traditionally marking the harvest season. Thousand of stalls – selling hand made jute, silk, wool, cane, wood, paper as well as synthetic fabrics, kitchen supplies, washing machines and… laptops – pop up like wild mushrooms and a 10 000 tourists’ horde pours into our « used to be quiet » streets.

Although every year the environment cell of the Visva Bharati University try to increase the environmental awareness and limit the use of plastic, it tends to fall on death ears. After Mela, they sweep the ground and burn the non-so-eco-friendly rubbish that our éphemère visitors leave behind, snobbing those massive but so few concrete trash bins. This year, around 60 local boyscout were “offered” in order to display the no-plastic campaign and keep the ground free of the toxic trash… Don’t know if the message was heard, I’ve stepped on a lot of crap… still, it was a first (crispy) step.