Subdued Janmashthami celebrations in Bengal


Kolkata: Janmashthami turned out to be a  low-key affair this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with just a handful of priests performing the rituals at most shrines on Tuesday, and devotees giving their temple visit a miss amid the restrictions in place.

No visitor was allowed at the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) temple in Mayapur – the global headquarters of the religious order — its spokesperson Subrata Das, said.

Devotees, however, will get to witness the ceremonial service online, he said.

“In the wake of the rising number of coronavirus cases in Nadia district, the ISKCON Mayapur management has decided to close the doors of the Chandradaya temple for a month from August 8. As per the new decision, no visitor or devotee will be allowed to enter the campus,” he said.

At ISKCON’s Kolkata temple, too, only a few monks conducted the prayer service.

Businesses took a hit, as several artisans who make clay models of Lord Krishna, and stitches dresses and crowns for the idols incurred losses, with people walking past their shops without taking a glance at the colourful display of earthen idols and other ceremonial objects.

Navin Paul, a clay modeller at Kumartuli here, said, “I made around 40 small idols of Lord Krishna but managed to sell just 10. I don’t know what do with the rest,” he rued.

Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar, in his message to people on the occasion, called for upholding the spirit of democracy, human rights and rule of law.

“Heartiest greetings on Janmashtami. Celebrate by emulating message of Krishna to Arjun,” the governor posted on his official Twitter handle.

“If you will not fight this righteous war, then you will fail in your duty, lose your reputation, and incur sin. Need-RIGHTEOUS FIGHT for DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS, RULE OF LAW,” Dhankhar, who had frequent run-ins with the state government over issues such as governance, law and order and education, added.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also extended her best wishes to people on Twitter.


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