Durga Puja in ‘Babu’ Calcuta

Durga Puja owes its popularity in and around Calcutta to the coming of the British and the advent of Babu Culture in the city. Though it all begun by Laxmikanta Mazumder of Barisha in 1610, the opulence associated with the festival was initiated by Maharaj Krishnachandra of Nadia who also simplified the religious practices observed in the course of the Puja. It is said that during the reign of Nawabs the rich were wary of showing off their wealth, apprehensive it would be taken away by their Muslim rulers but there was nothing to fear from their new British masters. In fact Durga Puja became a practice among the new urban mercantile aristocracy in Calcutta, pioneered by Nabakissen Munshi, the patriarch of the Debs of Sovabazar Rajbari, a way of enhancing business interest as well as to mark their rise up the social order.

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