Monday February 19, 2018

Kali Katha of Kolkata: How the capital city of West Bengal got its name from Goddess Kali

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By Newsgram Staff  Writer

She is furious. She is wild. She is a rebel. She symbolizes raw power. In Hindu mythology, it is said that goddess Kali originated from the forehead of goddess Durga in order to kill the demons Thimphu and Nishumbhu.

Although worshiped in two different forms, both Durga and Kali are the manifestations of feminine energy. According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Kali adorns a garland of human skulls around her neck and human limbs around her waist. She is an epitome of women’s liberation and her dance is the dance of destruction. She creates Maya. Her favorite haunt is the crematoriums. Hers is a world that is dark, evil and gory to the normal eye. Yet, she is the mother to many and a powerful identity of the Hindu religion

Kali’s Journey to Kolkata

Kali is a subaltern goddess and in the past, tribals, dacoits, and the people living away amid hostile conditions sought her help to protect them from the natural calamities. Kali became the God of these people and her temples came up in thick jungles. It was much later, perhaps when these forests were encroached upon, that Kali got a place in the altars of the famous Babu culture of Calcutta.

Kali is the presiding deity of the city of Kolkata and it is after her the city has been named. The city was named Kalikata and was later anglicized to Calcutta after British took control of India. It is said that it was the wrath of Kali that fell on the young Nawab leading to his devastating defeat in the Battle of Plassey and the rest is history (of colonial Calcutta).

According to some historians, the name ‘Kolikata’ was derived from the Bengali term kilkila (“flat area”). But the most widely accepted theory is that it is linked with Goddess Kali. Kali is to Kalikata what Mumba Devi is to Mumbai and Athena is to Athens –it is not only the presiding deity of the city, but also what has given the city its identity and its name.

The term ‘Kalikata’ may have come from Kali Kota which means ‘temple of Kali’. The temple of Kalighat, regarded as one of the 51 shakti peethas, has found mention in texts written as early as 15th century. Thanthania Kalibari was set up in 1703 by another babu of that period Shankar Ghosh.

People of Kolkata have now absorbed Goddess Kali as an integral part of their heritage and culture. The famous festival of Kali Puja is a celebrated event and people from across the world come to this part of this country to experience the festivities.

In what may seem bizarre, on the day of Kali Puja a religious ceremony is also performed in the famous Keoratola crematorium, near Kalighat on where a dead human body is kept in front of the idol as an offering.

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15 Amazing Facts About The Revolutionary Bhagat Singh

Bhagat Singh is considered to be a legend. Many of his actions are well-known. Even after his death, his inspiring actions continued to stir the desire for freedom.

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Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
  • Bhagat Singh was born on 28 September 1907
  • At a very early age, he got inclined towards socialism and socialist revolutions
  • Bhagat Singh was a very versatile theatre artist

Bhagat Singh stands out to be one of India’s greatest revolutionary freedom fighter who was given the death penalty by the British colonizers. Although he died at a very young age of 23 but his actions inspired the youth of the nation to fight for the nation’s freedom.

Bhagat Singh belonged to Punjab and popularly referred as legendary revolutionary Shaheed-e-Azam Bhagat Singh. He was born on 28 September 1907 in the village of Banga, Lyallpur district (now in Pakistan). Bhagat Singh is considered to be one of the most influential revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. He inculcated the spirit of martyrdom since his childhood.

Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. Wikimedia Commons
Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. Wikimedia Commons

At a very early age, he got inclined towards socialism and socialist revolutions led by Lenin and soon he started to follow and read about them. The leaflet that he threw in the Central Assembly on 9 April 1929, he stated, “It is easy to kill individuals but you cannot kill the ideas. Great empires crumbled while the ideas survived.”

Also Read: 8 must-read works of Rabindranath Tagore

Take a look at the life of one of the most celebrated Indian freedom fighters.

  1. Bhagat Singh was a great actor in college and a theatre artist. He took part in several plays. The most notable plays he was part of were ‘Rana Pratap’, ‘Samrat Chandragupta’ and ‘Bharata-durdasha’.
  2. When the Jalianwala Bagh incident occurred, Bhagat Singh was in school. He immediately left the school and went straight to the place of the tragedy. He collected the mud of that place which was mixed with the blood of Indians and worshipped the bottle every day. At that time, he was just 12 years old.
  3. In his childhood, Bhagat Singh often talked and wanted to grow guns in the fields, so that he could fight the British and push them back.
  4. Being a kid, he never talked about toys or games. He used to speak about driving out Britishers from India.
  5. The bomb that Bhagat Singh and his associates threw in the Central Assembly, were made of low-grade explosives. They were thrown away from people in the corridors of the building and were only meant to startle and not harm anyone. The British investigation report and forensics details also confirmed this.
  6. Bhagat Singh coined the word “political prisoner” during his stay in prison in 1930. He demanded basic amenities for his comrades in the prison which were even given to British looters and goons in the jail.
  7. ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. It fueled the independence vision of the people and later on became the slogan of India’s armed freedom struggle.
  8. Due to the utter influence of Bhagat Singh, Britishers hanged him an hour ahead of the official time. He was then secretly cremated on the banks of the river Sutlej by jail authorities. However, on hearing the news of his execution, thousands of people gathered at the spot of his cremation and took out a procession with his ashes.
  9. When Bhagat Singh was imprisoned in Lahore Jail, he kept a diary with him in which he penned down his fervent thoughts about freedom and revolution.
  10. At the very young age of 14 years, Bhagat Singh took part in a protest against the killing of a large number of unarmed people at Gurudwara Nankana Sahib.
  11. Bhagat Singh debunked Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy of non-violence. After the 1922 Chauri Chaura incident, he joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and began to advocate for the violent methods to overthrow the British Government in India.
  12. To avoid a forced marriage by his family, Bhagat Singh ran away to Kanpur and left a letter, which read, “My life has been dedicated to the noblest cause, that of the freedom of the country. Therefore, there is no rest or worldly desire that can lure me now.”
  13. When the British police became aware of Singh’s influence on youth, they immediately arrested him on the false pretext of having been involved in a bombing.
  14. After witnessing the Hindu-Muslim riots that broke out after Gandhi disbanded the Non-Cooperation Movement, he began to question religious ideologies of the society. After that point, Singh dropped his religious beliefs. He believed that the religion hinders the revolutionaries’ struggle for independence, and started studying the works of Bakunin, Lenin, Trotsky – all atheist revolutionaries. Later on, Bhagat Singh also wrote an essay titled ‘Why I am an Atheist’ in 1930 in Lahore Central Jail.
  15. Bhagat Singh wrote for Urdu and Punjabi newspapers which used to get published from Amritsar. He also contributed to the publishing of pamphlets by the Naujawan Bharat Sabha that excoriated the British. In his college time, Singh won an essay competition set by the Punjab Hindi Sahitya Sammelan. Bhagat Singh also published a series of articles on anarchism in Kirti and used many pseudonyms such as Balwant, Ranjit and Vidhrohi for publishing his writings.
    ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons
    ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ was the very famous phrase of Bhagat Singh. Wikimedia Commons

     

    Also Read: 10 Facts You Need To Know About Homi Bhabha

    Bhagat Singh is considered to be a legend. Many of his actions are well-known. His execution ignited the feeling of unity in many people to take up the revolutionary path, playing an important role in India’s freedom struggle. On the other hand, many didn’t agree with his radical approach to attain freedom. Even after his death, his inspiring actions continued to stir the desire for freedom.

    Once Bhagat Singh said, “They may kill me, but they cannot kill my ideas. They can crush my body, but they will not be able to crush my spirit.