Holy Cows: Chappel as Mahishasur
"This is curtailing our artistic freedom. And if the authorities do have such holy cows, we should be given a full list in advance. Why waste the efforts of an artist and demoralise him," said Babu Pal, secretary of the Kumartuli Mritshilpi Sanskritik Samity, the commitee representing idol makers from Kumartuli.
"Can you do this to any famous painter who paints our gods and goddesses with full artistic liberty," asks Dilip Pal, the artisan who was fashioning Greg Chappel's face onto Mahishasur, the demon who gets killed by Durga.
Dilip Pal either is not well-versed with Indian censorship and moral policing or he was making a supreme ironic statement. Considering he's a Bong, it's probably the latter.
The sculptor had been asked by a patron to fashion Mahishasur as Greg Chappel, in line with their sentiments for the Indian cricket coach. Local newspapers had picked up on the story and within a day or two, it was in national media. DNA, Mumbai reported:
Dilip Pal, the sculptor in Kumartuli, who has been assigned the task of making Mahisasura look like Chappell, sees nothing wrong in depicting the batting legend as evil personified.Police picked up on the story and a team went to Kumartuli to ask Dilip to dismantle the image. Outlook alleges:
"Every year we get requests from puja organisers to make images depicting some recent events and this year it is the Ganguly-Chappell issue," Pal said. Interestingly, Pal is also making an image depicting the infamous head-butt by French footballing icon Zinedine Zidane during the World Cup for another puja committee.
the Kolkata Police is headed by Prasun Mukherjee who contested the elections to the Cricket Association of Bengal against Jagmohan Dalmiya. Casting Chappell as the asura, reckoned Mukherjee, would scuttle whatever chances remain of Sourav sneaking his way back to Team India since Chappell and BCCI boss Sharad Pawar wouldn’t be pleased.Whether that is the reason for the police check or not, I can't imagine why the police has to intervene in a silly trifle like this. Has crime in Kolkata reduced to such low levels that they find themselves with lots of free time?
Also, they have perhaps stopped one idol with this move. In a city like Kolkata, with thousands of Durga Pujas, how will the police check on each and every idol? I hope they are not planning checks around the city. Actually, that's exactly what they are planning.
"We have decided to keep a close vigil and ensure that not a single demon resembles Chappell," said Pradip Chatterjee, deputy commissioner of police, headquarters.What a waste of tax-payer's money! Also keep in mind that the action of dismantling Greg's face would have meant some degree of loss for the poor idol-maker. Will the Government now compensate him with my money?
"Our suggestion to all puja organisers is to follow this instruction. Police will intervene if this is violated," he added.
Actually, for all I know, now they will spend my money on stopping the Zidane idol from appearing in pandals. After all, that has the potential to hurt somebody's sentiments as well.
Speaking about his other creation this year, Pal said that as a football lover, he considered Zidane's act as 'unsporting' and that is why "I decided to oblige another puja organiser in the outsirts of the city."Well, you heard it here. No headbutts in Durga Puja this year.
Pal's logic, however, did not go down well with football crazy Kolkatans, including Subrata Dutta, secretary of Indian Football Association, the governing body of the game in the state. "I feel sad about this. A great player like Zidane does not deserve this from us who claim to be football lovers," Dutta said when approached for his comments. He also said that people should not forget Zidane's contributions to the game and, "even if his act was a blemish, we should not forget under what provocation it was done.
"Depicting a player like Zidane like this only lowers our image."
Talking of headbutts, more on headbutts here: (1), (2), (3), (4), (5) and (6).
Picture courtesy: Outlookindia.com