In Rome (Italy), Durga is not welcome

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Faun

Wahahaha~!
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What does it mean to celebrate Durga Puja in Rome? It means to be humiliated, harassed and hounded by city officials who happen to be pious Christians. Alright, I could be utterly wrong in presuming they are pious since I have no independent confirmation of their piety or otherwise. But let’s get back to the question with which I began. Late Thursday night I was at the park near my house where the local Bengalis organise Durga Puja every year. It’s a raucous celebration of faith and culture. The food stalls are invariably hugely popular and there I was with my nine-year-old daughter, standing in a queue for kathi rolls. After what seemed like an interminable wait, it was our turn to be served. Just then my BlackBerry beeped. Balancing the piping hot rolls, dripping oil, tomato ketchup, green chilli sauce and lemon juice, in one hand, I tried to read the e-mail on my handset.

No luck. I got shoved around, nearly dropped both rolls and my phone, and decided to let the e-mail wait. Later, away from the crowd, I checked the e-mail and it was a fascinating story. Since the identity of the person who had sent the mail is not really relevant, let me reproduce the text: “The Municipal Police authorities of Rome have today withdrawn permission, granted three weeks ago, to celebrate Durga Puja in Rome. The cancellation came a few hours before the Ambassador of India was scheduled to inaugurate the Puja at 8 pm local time. No acceptable explanation has been given. This has caused the local Indian community the loss of thousands of Euros spent in preparatory arrangements. The same thing was done in the same manner in 2008 also. Please monitor developments.”

Now that’s awful, I told myself, here I am having kathi rolls and there they can’t even celebrate their own festival. On Friday, I called a friend in Rome who provided me with the latest details. Our Ambassador, Mr Arif Shahid Khan, a feisty man who has in the past taken up the issue of Sikhs being forced to take off their turbans at Italian airports, campaigned throughout the day, calling up officials, including the Mayor of Rome, and contacting members of the ‘Friends of India’ group in the Italian Parliament, arguing with them why permission for the Puja should be restored. By evening, the authorities had reversed their order and permission was granted to celebrate Durga Puja, which will now begin on Saturday, Ashtami — a full 48 hours behind schedule. Provided, of course, there is no last minute cancellation, as it happened on Thursday. Mr Khan will inaugurate the Puja, an honour he richly deserves.

The story behind the cancellation needs to be told, if only to point out that Christian countries in the West, whose Governments so blithely criticise the ‘lack’ of ‘religious freedom’ in India, have no compunctions about trampling on Hindu sentiments at home. After last year’s experience, when permission for celebrating Durga Puja in Rome was abruptly withdrawn by officials who cited specious reasons to justify their grossly unfair decision, the organisers, led by Mr Rajesh Sahani, a Sindhi from Kolkata who speaks flawless Bengali, took ample precautions this year. They were given permission to organise the Puja at Parko Centocelle, a public park on Via Cailina, Torpignattara. Three weeks ago, permission was granted for the Puja at the park and necessary formalities were completed.

Early this past week, the Puja organisers were told they could not use the park as a crime had been committed there and the location posed security-related problems. The organisers agreed to change the venue. Another park was selected, permission was given to celebrate Durga Puja there, and the preparations began all over again in right earnest. Then, like a bolt from the blue, at 4 pm on Thursday came the withdrawal of permission by the Municipal Police. The organisers were bluntly told to pack up and leave hours before Durga Puja was scheduled to begin with Akal Bodhon in the evening. Why? No reason was proffered.

Some officials are believed to have told the organisers that the cancellation of permission at the eleventh hour, both last year and this year, was meant to be “retaliatory action against the persecution of Christians in India”. It may be recalled that the President of Italy, Mr Giorgio Napoletano, has been vociferous in demanding that Europe should do more in support of Christians in India and to help them ‘affirm their right to religious freedom’. The Government of Italy has in the past summoned the Ambassador of India to convey to him that it has “deep concern and sensitivity for the ongoing inter-religious violence... that has caused the death of many Christians.” The Pope has been no less harsh in denouncing India.

There could be another reason, apart from its “deep concern” about the welfare of Christians in India, for Italy’s callous disregard of the sentiments of Hindus in that country. Although the Italian Constitution guarantees religious freedom, under the Lateran Treaty with the Vatican, Italy recognises only the three religions of Semitic origin — Christianity, Judaism and Islam. All other religions are no more than paganism and are to be shamed and shunned. The Vatican would not countenance any open breach of the Lateran Treaty; Italy would not want to be seen as recognising Hinduism.

“It’s only natural that Italy should have a surfeit of churches. But it’s the rejection of any other faith than Christianity, Judaism and Islam that explains why there are so many mosques but virtually no temples in Italy although this country has a large Hindu expatriate population,” my friend told me while regretting the attitude of the Government and the local authorities. According to him, there are only three temples in Italy: One in a garage in Venice; another at Frescolo and the third at Reggio Emilia. These survive at the mercy of local zoning officials.

But for Mr Arif Shahid Khan’s pro-active involvement — most Ambassadors tend to stay aloof from community affairs — this year too there would have been no Durga Puja in Rome. Indians in Italy owe him a debt of gratitude. So do Bangladeshis who are equal participants in this annual celebration of dharma’s victory over adharma, of the triumph of good over evil. Cultural and linguistic affinities unite Bengalis, irrespective of whether they are from the west or east of Padma, during this autumnal festival celebrated around the world.

Meanwhile, let’s not get carried away by the West’s bilious and bogus criticism of 'lack of' religious freedom in India and indulge in self-flagellation. Let the West look at its own ugly, septic warts. If Christians can celebrate Christmas in New Delhi, Hindus have the right to celebrate Durga Puja in Rome. This is non-negotiable.
http://www.dailypioneer.com/205141/In-Rome-Durga-is-not-welcome.html

Kudos to Arif Shahid Khan for his efforts for fellow Indians. May be Italian madam Sonia can see into the religious bigotry committed in Italy situated in free West.
 

dips_view

Broken In
Dont blame anyone for (eg Sonia Gandhi) her/his nationality/religion/believes.Though she/he has no connections with this incident.

Yes, its a fascistic tendency.They just want suppress freedom of expressions.

But I think you are comfortable with that(fascist/religious extremist ) rather than communist/ secular . ohhh... i just forgot you are the most vocal advocate of Western Imperialism :?

and this time toooo.. you blamed Sonia Gandhi for Christian fundamentalism. :-?

(and further I am a Bengali and an atheist though i feel connected with "DURGAPAJA"/and not a fan of sonia gandhi)

THINK LOGICALLY/AND READ MORE.....

শূভ বিজযা SUBHO VIJAYA (HAPPY VIJAYA) TO EVERYONE (INCLUDING KANJAR) :smile::smile:
 
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Faun

Faun

Wahahaha~!
Staff member
Dear dips_view

Where did I blame Sonia Gandhi ? I just asked her to do something about that as she is in a much better position to understand and act.

I live for my nation. Freedom is the right of every individual. There are problems with every system but freedom shall not be compromised in any state.

Because of this same communist ideology we have people like Mahato, Khobad Gandhy, Karat who are saved by media and touted as heroes are literally getting away with murder. CPI and CPI(M) has brought nothing but misery to West Bengal. The cancer is spreading over Chattishgarh, Andhra, Mharashtra, Kerela.

In theory it looks right but Communism is a failure in reality. And that does not mean I like Western Imperialism. I have my own grievance about US and European countries action hurting India.

Its time for you to think. Go to Bharat Rakshak forum, spend sometime there.
 

nix

Senior Member
It is wrong to blame the entire west for incidents that happen in only one country, in this case, italy.

if italy was all that bad, the indians would have left that place long ago. Incidents like this happen sometimes, as there are a few black sheep. but on the whole, europe and USA are very secular and open to people of other races, that explains why so many races are living there. If india had so many races, there would surely be problems.

its time we acknowledge the sunny side of things there. lets not magnify a few bad incidents.

USA and europe and australia are among the best places for immigrants. in no other country will you see a degree of openness for other races than america. it is a matter of fact that indians have thrived and flourished in those countries. thats why many of them dont come back.

It is high time we recognize and appreciate those countries for they have contributed, rather than dwell on their negative aspects.
 

vamsi_krishna

Human Spambot
No one will object one if he is worshiping his god in his home. The problem comes where the tendencies go in a preaching manner.
 
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Faun

Faun

Wahahaha~!
Staff member
imagine doing a Jesus Christ parade in Tirumala or Lord Venkateswara parade in Mecca!!!!!

Carefully read again.

Italy recognises only the three religions of Semitic origin — Christianity, Judaism and Islam.
That essentially means that Jews, Christiand and Muslims are free to do more than a parade there.

They were given permission to organise the Puja at Parko Centocelle, a public park on Via Cailina, Torpignattara. Three weeks ago, permission was granted for the Puja at the park and necessary formalities were completed.
Obviously your reply lacks the understanding. Try again.
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Posted again:
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No one will object one if he is worshiping his god in his home. The problem comes where the tendencies go in a preaching manner.

How about a 50 cents concert with Fergie as bonus performance ?
 
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