As many Indians prepare to celebrate a festival devoted to the Goddess Durga on Tuesday, a marquee set up for the occasion in the country's West Bengal state replicating the holy Sikh shrine the "Golden Temple" has triggered controversy on social media.
Makeshift temples are made by organisers or event planning groups with innovative themes to draw the maximum numbers of devotees or visitors to their stall.
In south Kolkata, while trying to outdo others in choosing an innovative theme, one group made a replica of the holy Sikh shrine the "Golden Temple", leaving many from the Sikh community fuming and critical of the move.
The Indian Sikh shrines' top governing body, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), has addressed the event management company behind the model, and has called the makeshift replica an act of mocking the holiest Sikh shrine " that cannot be replicated in any manner".
"Any look-alike structures representing the Golden Temple are tantamount to mocking the holy place and hurt Sikh religious sentiments," said SGPC president Gobind Singh Longowal
The SGPC has asked the administration of the Kolkata-based Gurdwara Bara Sikh Sangat to look into the matter, a media report said.
Delhi-based Sikh politician Manjinder Sing Sirsa slammed it as “hurting Sikh sentiments" while calling it “religious blasphemy”.
Religious blasphemy happening in West Bengal of copying Sri Harmandir Sahib hurts Sikhs’ sentiments— Manjinder S Sirsa (@mssirsa) October 5, 2019
The organisers of this Durga Puja event must take off the set up. I request @MamataOfficial Ji to look into the matter & take strong immediate action against event mangt company pic.twitter.com/8K2cIWJlLw
Many people, however, have disagreed with such an objection, with some of them suggesting it reflects religious pluralism.
Sirsa had to face flak from social media users, who disagreed with his view and perceived it as a depiction of the religious harmony in India.
Northen Park Kolkata Durga puja pandal, total budget 6.5 crore , theme Harmandir Sahib Amritsar (Golden Temple). Truly syncretic tradition of India. 🙏👍😊 pic.twitter.com/NC9Q10vfIf— Arvinder S Ranga IRS (@ArvinderRanga) October 4, 2019
Sorry @mssirsa ji, disagree with you on this. The great Guru Gobind Singh, whom you consider as your ideal was a Chandi Upasaka. The first line of his immortal Chandi Di Var starts with ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮ ਭਗੌਤੀ ਸਿਮਰਿ ਕੈ ਗੁਰੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਲਈਂ ਧਿਆਇ— Shefali Vaidya ஷெஃபாலி வைத்யா शेफाली वैद्य (@ShefVaidya) October 6, 2019
Prathami bhagautī simar kai Gurū Nānakalaī dhiāi.
Famous Punjabi singer Gurdas Mann, set to perform at the same pandal, cancelled his show and left the city after learning that the pandal is a replica of the Sikh shrine.