but this time it is happening in the following Monday.)
Kalau Asvamedha: Autumnal Celebrations of the Great Goddess in Vangadesa
In Bengal, ‘Durga Puja’ is the people’s national festival. Each and every Bengali, in some manner or the other, joins in the celebrations venerating the Great Goddess, during Her annual autumnal home-coming. Today, it is also celebrated worldwide by the Bengali-speaking Hindu community. Though the festival has a history spanning over a millennium, it gained its premiere stature during the last 200-300 years. The festival also contributed enormously during the country’s freedom struggle. The revelry, rivalry and longing for the Great Goddess of Bengal, and the fervour of the celebrations surrounding Her annual festival, often remain unmatched. This presentation will endeavour to map the unprecedented achievements, power and glory, and nostalgia of the most important public event of Bengal, under which the social, political, economic, and religious identity of the Bengali Hindus take shape. In doing so, it will also undertake a re-look and re-think at the popular historical narratives surrounding this massive festival of the people of Bengal.
About the Speaker:
Probal Ray Choudhury is an assistant professor in the Department of Cultural Education and Indic Studies at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (University) in Coimbatore. He is a Bengali, and hails from Kolkata, where his family has been living for four centuries and still continues with their ancestral festival of Durga Puja every autumn – a tradition that begun in ca.1610. Having born and brought up in that tradition, he also shares a keen interest and passion in Durga Puja like most other Bengalis. His research interests lie in the study of indigenous Indian polity and history of Indian education. His popular writings in Bengali and English, and book reviews, are often published in Vedanta Kesari, Prabuddha Bharata, Udbodhan and other popular magazines.