Tuesday, 10 September 2013

This Durga brooks no slowdown

Well, India is in the throes of a recession and the falling rupee, slowing growth, policy paralysis have all contributed to a slowdown in the economy. However, there is one thing that does not see any slowdown and industry experts say that this is poised for a greater leap on the coming days.
Infact, this industry is expected to grow at a phenomenal rate of 35 per cent in just two years. Its current size is Rs. 25,000 crores and it is expected to reach Rs. 40,000 crores by 2015. And all this is happening in West Bengal.
Surprised. Yes, you should be. Known for its highly charged political situation and slowing industrialisation, West Bengal is poised to reach Rs. 40,000 crores. And who has made this estimate. It is Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), the venerable trade body of industrialists of India.
The ASSOCHAM has forecast that West Bengal's Durga puja industry is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 35 percent. This is expected to push the Puja industry to touch Rs.40,000 crores by 2015 from its current size of Rs.25,000 crores.
Much of this growth is due to the increasing cost of organising the puja which it says, has increased as much as over 30 percent compared to last year due to hike in the materials used. As per its estimates, the pandal (marquee) industry is expected to touch Rs.500 crore in 2013 from Rs.350 crore in 2012. Since 10,000 Durga puja marquees come up every year, the increase is significant.
The other expenses such as making the idols, transport, food and beverages, pandals, orchestra and entertainment shows have all increased correspondingly. The entertainment companies as well as organisations in the lighting and decoration are making hay
Every year, Kolkatta prepares over 20,000 to 30,000 idols and the cost of making them too has increased by almost 15-20 percent this year. The idols cost anywhere between Rs. 60,000 to Rs. 5 lakhs, while the food and beverage industry is worth over Rs. 50 crores.
More tan anything,  Durga worship is a major religious and social event not only in Kolkata but in West Bengal. It attracts massive crowds, people’s participation and even political backing.
The first recorded Durga celebrations in public is said to have been celebrated in the late 1500s by the zamindar of Dinajpur and Malda. Others say Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur or Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya organised the first Sharadiya or Autumn Durga Puja in Bengal in 1606.
However, the origin of community puja can be credited to the twelve friends of Guptipara in Hoogly, West Bengal, who collaborated and collected contributions from local residents to conduct the first community puja called the “baro-yaari” puja or the “twelve-pal” puja in 1790.
The “baro-yaari” puja proved so popular that it was brought to Kolkata in 1832 by Raja Harinath of Cossimbazar, who performed the Durga Puja at his ancestral home in Murshidabad from 1824 to 1831. Since then, the puja has grown from strength to strength. Such community celebrations received a fillip when the Sanatan Dharmotsahini Sabha organised the first truly community puja in Baghbazar in Kolkata in 1910.
Another celebration that goes back to 1610 is by Sabarna Roychowdhurys at Behala. Similarly, the puja of the Deb family at Shovabazar Rajbati attracted among its visitor Lord Robert Clive. The British official came to the celebration after he won the Battle of Plassey. 

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