KOLKATA: The controversy over the ‘offensive’ poster of the documentary film Kaali and the subsequent comments from All India Trinamool Congress (AITC) member of parliament from Krishnanagar Mahua Moitra had created a stir in the country.
The New Indian visited some of the most famous Kali temples in Kolkata in an effort to understand what the section of people associated with the religious aspect of the goddess think about the whole incident.
Head priest Sibnath Baidya of Kolkata’s famous Pute Kali temple, where devotees offer ‘puti fish’ to the deity and hence the name, said, “Sacrifices do take place here in this temple as a ritual and this is a common affair. We worship Dakshina Kali.”
When asked about the ongoing controversy, Baidya said, “Controversies go on but it never hampers people’s faith. We are away from such things, we only worship.”
Another priest of a famous Kali Temple near College Street in North Kolkata, on condition of anonymity, said, “Politics does happen over religion. It is unfortunate but that’s the truth. We are far away from controversy, politics, and politicians. We are into our own world that only has Ma Kali.”
The priest also explained that there are many forms of praying patterns such as Dakshina Kali, Bama Kali, etc. “Many are being worshipped in tantric forms,” the priest said.
The New Indian also approached the revered Dakshineswar Temple Board. However, they said that they do not have anything to say.
Bimal Bandhopandhyay, a sebayat at the 300-year-old Siddheswari Kali Temple, said, “Who is saying what, who is thinking what and in which tone neither matter to us nor we pay any heed to it. Moreover, I think that the devotees of any religion do not get carried away by controversy, they stick to their beliefs.”
The unveiling of the ‘offensive’ poster, depicting goddess Kali smoking a cigarette, from Canadian filmmaker Leena Manimekalai’s documentary ‘Kaali’ has started the controversy.
It was blown out after Moitra, in a conclave, said that she had every right as an individual to imagine Goddess Kali as a meat-eating and alcohol-accepting deity, as each person had his or her unique way of offering prayers.
The comments drew backlash with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and others have lodged complaints against Moitra for her comments. AITC, which is aiming to spread its roots to other states, has distanced itself from the entire episode. It also condemned and dissociated itself from her remarks. Moitra also responded by unfollowing everyone except AITC supremo and Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.