Thursday May 24, 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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An Indian Origin Woman Minister in the Government of British Columbia

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

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British Columbia, the Canadian province that is a leader in technology and has one of the fastest growing tech ecosystems in the world
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From Canada, that boasts of a first Indian-origin Defence Minister in Harjit Singh Sajjan, here is the story of another Indian-origin woman migrant who has risen to become a minister in the government of the British Columbia — the Western-most province of the country known for its tech prowess globally.

Meet Jinny Jogindera Sims, who was born in Jalandhar in Punjab and migrated at age nine to England where she got a B.Ed degree at the University of Manchester.

Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens’ Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.

In a conversation with IANS, when asked about Canada’s inclusive nature and how emigrants like her can make it to the top in different fields including political power, pat came her reply: “If you ask me is there more we can do, my answer will be absolutely. We need to do more on aboriginals and the nations’ ethnic communities”.

“We need to do more. Inclusivism and racism is not a one-time issue. We need to do more for their education and other issues. We need to do it all the time”.

Asked about Indians and attracting the talent in the growing tech sector of British Columbia, Sims said Indians have made a name for themselves in the tech and other sectors and are in the forefront.

“I have been to India as an MP to various cities, including Bengaluru and Kolkata. Looking at the skills and talent and amazing companies, India is important in the tech sector. We are looking at new cooperation with Indian tech companies,” she emphasised.

As member of the British Columbia legislative assembly, she is a minister representing the Liberal Party in the government headed by Premier John Horgan.

The 65-year-old mother of two, who now heads the Ministry of Citizens' Services of British Columbia, is quite passionate about her job.
Then, Sims and her husband moved to Canada in 1976. The first woman President of British Columbia’s largest teachers’ union, she was elected to the Canadian Parliament in 2011. Pixabay

Asked about her ministry’s work, Sims said her department has gone more digital in delivering services to citizens and that has brought its own problems.

Cyber crime, fake news and other related problems faced by the countries across the world are also her main problems.

“Digital economy is growing. More and more people are getting sophisticated and trying to commit cyber crimes. We are engaged more with businesses that are worried that more people are trying to get information online through Internet bandits.

“We are telling businesses to build extra layers of security. It is like when we construct a home, we have doors and windows which we close for security. Likewise, businesses have to build layers of security like Next-Gen anti-virus solutions and firewalls,” the minister stressed.

She said her ministry is very agile on cyber security and has become smarter with time.

“They (cyber-criminals) have got technology and are, all the time, trying to get into our systems. Nearly 300,000 systems were affected which is mind-boggling. It also shows we have to be extra-cautious, building firewalls and constantly monitoring them,” Sims said.

Asked about the problem of data stealing and stalking over social media platforms, Sims said the government’s role in this is limited.

As a mother and a grandmother, she would only advise that schools and parents have to tell children on the newer risks arising from the use of Internet.

“Parents can limit the children from accessing Internet. We can teach and guide them on cyber security. Businesses also have a responsibility,” Sims added.

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The identity cards issued by her government for accessing citizens’ services have high-security features and cannot be breached for extracting personal details.

“Our ID cards, personal details are never shared with anyone. There is nothing that goes out from our portal,” she noted.

Asked if she was aware of the controversy surrounding the Aadhaar card in India, the minister said, “a little bit”. (IANS)