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Durga Puja: Celebrating the Goddess: Then and Now

 
Sudeshna Banerjee (Author)
Synopsis The book is an introduction to Durga Puja, the grandest festival in Eastern India, a celebration that provides a glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of Bengal. It is a ready reckoner on all aspects of the Puja -- its mythical origins, its socio-cultural evolution, its economic ramifications and its elaborate rituals. The book traces the shift in calendar of a spring ritual to an autumnal slot with Lord Rama's Akalbodhan, with sundry asides thrown in (like, why is the mouse so dear to Ganesha?). It explains, in crisp and compact language, the main rituals to unravel the mystery that the priest's mantras are to most. The best aspect of the book is perhaps the journey back in time to the Pujas of the Babus during the British Raj. Spiced with anecdotes culled from journals and newspapers of the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it is an entertaining read that provides rare glimpses into the past, like the menace of the collection of Puja subscription two hundred years ago or the way the Puja was used by freedom fighters as a cover. The book also looks at the trends that make the modern-day Puja -- the commercialization, the contests and the emergence of themes, and how Pujas abroad are different from those at home. The conclusion logs on to futuristic trends, making the book a unique compendium of knowledge associated with the worship of the mother Goddess, one of the oldest surviving Hindu traditions.
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Bibliographic information

Title Durga Puja: Celebrating the Goddess: Then and Now
Format Hardcover
Date published: 12.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Rupa & Co.
Language: English
isbn 8129110342
length xii+78p., Plates; Figures; Glossary; Bibliography; 24cm.