Suga Mama

23 Comments

Subho Bijoya and Happy Dussehra to everybody.

I have often lamented the passing of the old-world charm that characterized Durga Pujos in favor of commercialization and “novelty”. Well it is indeed heartening to see that there are some folk in Delhi who have held on to the traditional Durga Pujo in a way that is truly endearing.

And how have they done that? By having a man in drag belt out hot moves to the tunes of songs that capture the simple religiosity of the Pujos, including that old favorite Durga-vandana song— “Suga Mama” (hattip: Thalassa)

Video Link 1

Video Link 2

The last time I felt this great was when while coming back from tuitions, I saw a gang of local “boys club” members dancing on the streets in celebration of Netaji’s birthday (January 23), in front of a garlanded picture of Subhash Bose, to the tune of ” Oh lal Dupatte waali tera naam to bata, Oh kaale kurte waali tera naam to bata”.(What warmed my heart was how, poetically and subtly, the communists and fascists with whom Netaji interacted with, are referred to as “Lal Dupaate-waali” [Red Army] and “Kaale Kurte-waali” [Black Shirts])

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23 thoughts on “Suga Mama

  1. However, some puja celebrations do reflect the auspicious sprit of Durga Puja still. M not a bong, but i visit pujos wherever possible and feel touched!!

  2. Shubho Biyoya to you too!

    I have lived outside West Bengal for most of my life. For some reason, the Durga Pujas outside Bengal seem to be more traditional (even the idols are of the classic variety). I guess some change is inevitable. What is traditional to us, probably looked ‘new-world’ to a generation before.

  3. Subho Bijoya!

    I know exactly what you mean. Being a Gujarati myself, I know how “cliche” garbas during Navratri used to be and how “modern” they have become now-a-days. Evolution eh?

  4. Seasons Greeting,
    I am impressed by one such puja pandal in Mumbai that I attended. I have written about it on my site.
    Unlike the bigger pandals, there was no shor sharaba here but a classical fusion dance and Rabindra sangeet program.

    I will post the video of the classical fusion dance on YouTube tomorrow.
    The attendees included Shekhar Sen and Seema Sehgal among others.

    That’s how festivals should be. Isn’t it?

  5. first dusshera in USA. Usually i never pray to god, but i am doing it here without anybody forcing me to.Wonder why that is??
    anyways HAPPY DUSSHERA!!!!! šŸ™‚

  6. Just checked the video link. I don’t know what constitutes classic or modern, I only know that particular item looks sick in front of Devi on Durga Puja…..call me a saffronite or whatever but in this case I’m disappointed no one did anything about it.

  7. Hey GB…

    this reminded me of the final few minutes from ‘Little Miss Sunshine’. I could imagine a stocky Bengali Babu rising from among the crowd and applauding – “Bhaalo…khoob bhaalo”.

    And I also remember the 90’s when in a Maa Bhagwati Jaagran (with banners studded with Narendra Chanchal shaped holes) in Lucknow, an Ila Arun wannabe sang – “Maata ke dil mein kya hai…maata ke dil mein…ku ku ku ku ku…”

  8. Happy Dussera to all.
    GB, I loved your sarcasm. They say sarcasm is intellect on the offensive.
    As Shantanu has pointed out, I too believe what is traditional to us, probably looked modern to a generation before. But I sincerely hope it would never become so modern!
    Cheers,

  9. was anyone there at the Durga Puja in Berlin. Organized by the Indians living here, it perhaps represents the spirit of Puja much better than the Pujas back in India. And although the customs may not have all been followed strictly (the idol’s are not immersed, but kept in a cellar for next year) the feeling of being part of a big family, the general “devotional-quotient” and enthusiasm is right up there…

  10. Shubho Bijoya! This puts a whole new perspective to the “Dhanam dehi” (a la Suga Mama) invocation no? As my Mama says – Kale kale koto holi.

    I do agree with the commentators who said that what appears traditional to us may have been incredibly modern to our elders.

    Why, when my grandma was newly married, they hardly celebrated Durga Puja with a lot of pomp in our village. They had Jogodhatri Pujo, Nobaan, Shibratri, Gajon, Chobbish Pohor.

    In fact, Chobbish Pohor and Gajon are still the biggest celebrations in the village, and you should see the insane Halloween-like parade they take out, with the boys dressed like Lord Shiva’s posse and piss drunk (and high on other substances).

    But you know what – even then, this bothers me. I like to keep my kitsch and my sacred separate and there’s a place and time for everything. What an agnostic like me appreciates the most about these festivals is the sheer aesthetic beauty of it all. If even that is gone, what will be left?

  11. I am not a Hindu and not a bengali. But somehow I feel disgusted and enraged…
    For example, people drunk and dancing to the songs like “anguri badan” while wisarjan….songs like “choli ke peechhe” being played at a Saraswati Puja pandal.
    Dandiya becoming synonimous with discussion of AIDS on news channel..
    The same society is so strict about friendship between opposite sex, talking about sex in media, kissing on-screen- in short all walks of life that is non-religious.
    On the other hand, a ceremony that should have been an expression of faith ends up looking like being an outlet of sexually frustrated population.

    Are we plain hypocrites or just light-headed??

  12. Subho Bijoya to you all,Calcutta is cool now,no traffic jams,no lightings, it is the time when Calcutta traffic police will be taking rest, from next Monday onwards tings will be back to full of activity. Toady work has just started but also many people bunked office.

    Bhalo theko bideshe.

    Ma Durgar ashirbad sabar oper.

    With Warm Regards,

    Debashish Brahma.
    Calcutta.

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