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Bengal girls shun make-up boxes for boxing gloves

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By Arka Mondal

Kolkata: With the number of cases of eve-teasing and molestation escalating in West Bengal, time has come for the girls to banish their make-up kits and take up training in self defense. Girls from Kolkata say, police have failed to curb the situation and the law enforcers provide little assistance when they visit police station to file a complaint. In such a scenario, with a battered mental ego, the girls are forced to suffer severe mental trauma. But with more and more girls expressing their guts in public and thrashing the eve-teasers in broad daylight, a message is definitely sent to the hooligans that Bong girls are gradually transforming into Bond girls.

The recent incident in Madhyamgram, where a 16-year old girl literally battered two molesters had sent ripples across West Bengal. The incident had instilled a sense of confidence among the girls who are ready to lead a fight back if they are confronted by molesters. With the administration compromising with the security and well being of the girls, they themselves are learning “a chisel fist to the nose, firm wrist lock, flying kick and a zombie choke around the neck.”

Various forms of martial arts like karate, taekwondo, aikido, kickboxing and wushu are becoming familiar in Kolkata. Girls who enroll for the training say, learning the martial art is a precautionary measure. The art does not make them aggressive but strengthens their mind set. It teaches them to deal with the romeos who are ready to pounce on them. The training in martial arts gives the cornered girls a scope to fight back.

Nikita Singh, a 16-year girl who trains in kickboxing, said, she was tormented in broad daylight near Minto Park crossing. But it took a few minutes to pay the molesters in their own coffers. She overpowered the man and dragged him by collar to a nearby Police kiosk. Nikita said, the training is not about the moves or jibes but it gave her the confidence to walk up to the tormentor and confront him face to face.

Speaking on the issue, trainers say, most of the girls who take up the classes have faced harassment on the road, locality or in public transport. So the first step of the training is to give them a sense of security. The initial training is to calm one’s mind, get composed and acquire mental strength.

With a calm and composed mind set and a variety of techniques in fighting, the girls are ever-ready now to strike back and pin-down the eve-teasers. So don’t be surprised to find boys running for cover or getting thrashed publicly by a single girl.

 

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Durga Puja in Bengal to showcase its cross-cultural and trans-boundary influences

Months of protests and violence in the Darjeeling hills has failed to dampen the spirit of the Nepali population in Siliguri and in state capital Kolkata

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Durga Puja in West Bengal
Durga Puja. Wikimedia
  • Durga Puja in West Bengal has evolved into a platform of its cross-cultural and trans-boundary influences 
  • Months of protests and violence in the Darjeeling hills has failed to dampen the spirit of the Nepali population in Siliguri and in state capital Kolkata
  • In Kolkata, the Nepali consulate is expected to host around 100 to 150 members of the community from different parts of Bengal on Dasain

Kolkata/Siliguri, September 22, 2017: From goddess Durga draped in traditional Nepali attire for the grand celebration of Dasain, to the resplendent White Temple of Thailand to glimpses of London and the US — Durga Puja in West Bengal is not only a showcase of the state’s artistic heritage but has also evolved into a platform of its cross-cultural and trans-boundary influences.

Geopolitical tensions notwithstanding, slices of soft diplomacy and globalisation are on show in a clutch of pandals (marquees) in the state.

Take Dasain celebrations in Siliguri, for example.

Months of protests and violence in the Darjeeling hills has failed to dampen the spirit of the Nepali population in Siliguri (located at the base of the hill) and in state capital Kolkata where they are gearing up to celebrate the Nepali version of Durga Puja with pomp and splendour.

Recognised by the splotches of vermillion, rice and curd (“tika”) on the foreheads and the prominent sprigs of barley sprouts (jamara) tucked behind one’s ear, Dasain or Vijaya Dashami — Nepal’s biggest festival — has been observed in Siliguri for 25 years by its oldest social organisation, Bhanu Bhakta Samiti.

“Dasain is celebrated with the participation of all communities: Nepali, Bengali, Marwari, Bihari and others. Everyone is welcomed and people, cutting across political party lines, join in the revelry. The Bengalis even offer ‘anjali’ (floral offerings). The Gorkhaland issue is a political one and we do not let it affect our celebrations,” Krishna Lama (Pemba) of the Samiti told IANS.

“We have been having the Durga idol since the last three years. From Sashthi (September 26), we will begin the worship of the protima (idol). She will be dressed in traditional attire and we have roped in designer Alka Sharma for the costumes. Jamara (pot with wheat sprouts) is indispensable to the festival,” Lama said.

Parents and older members of the family apply tika and place the jamara as blessings for the younger ones. The jamara also signifies “shakti”.

In Kolkata, the Nepali consulate is expected to host around 100 to 150 members of the community from different parts of Bengal on Dasain.

“Every year, for over 25 years, we have a Nepali Durga puja in front of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation building. Cultural programmes are organised and representatives of around 32 samitis (clubs) across Bengal join in,” an official of the consulate told IANS.

Also readDurga Puja Pandal Decoration Catches Cinema Style, Baahubali Palace Will Be In Cruise This Year In Kolkata

Meanwhile, the Deshapriya Park committee, which registered the highest footfall for a pandal last year with five million visitors, has in store a slice of Thailand — a popular tourist destination for travellers from east India, served well with 2.5 hour-long flights.

It has recreated the 20th century Wat Rong Khun temple (or the White Temple) located just outside Chiang Rai in northern Thailand. The detailed all-white exterior with mirror trimmings stands out in stark contrast against the grassy park lawns.

Organisers have also replicated the temple’s piece-de-resistance: A mural depicting the burning Twin Towers as Angry Birds, Michael Jackson, Spiderman and other pop culture icons look on.

At Bhowanipore 75 <https://maps.google.com/?q=Bhowanipore+75&entry=gmail&source=g> Palli puja in south Kolkata, a stone’s throw from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s residence, a 40,000 square feet area has been converted into a typical London street. The theme is aligned to Banerjee’s vision of transforming Kolkata into London.

With 2017 being the Indo-UK Year of Culture, the club has tied up with the British Council and London Sharod Utsav.

“Big Ben and Westminster will also be replicated in the area. The idol is crafted from mahogany and brass and decorated with dokra art. Post-puja we are planning to install the idol permanently in any one of the famous institutions of the UK like the British museum or University of London,” Club Secretary Subir Das said.

The Star Spangled Banner is prominent at Badamtala Asar Sangha in south Kolkata. The club is calling its celebration ‘West Wind’ in consonance with the Year of US-India Travel and Tourism Partnership.

“Visually the pandal resembles a street in a hi-tech American city at night. The design is complete with skyscrapers and multi-hued buildings and lights,” said Snehasish, one of the artistic heads. (IANS)

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