Controversy erupts over ‘Vulgar’ Saraswati Idol at Tripura College

The protestors demanded that the college take immediate action to rectify the situation, prompting the institute to drape the idol with a saree.

Author
Khushboo Joshi
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Courtesy: Tribune

Saraswati Puja festivities at a government college in Tripura took a contentious turn as protests erupted over the depiction of a Saraswati idol without traditional attire, sparking outrage among some groups.

The controversy began when a video circulated on social media showing a Saraswati idol created by students of the college without the customary saree. Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), followed by supporters of the Bajrang Dal, initiated protests, expressing concerns about the perceived "vulgarity" of the idol's attire.

Dibakar Acharjee, the general secretary of the ABVP unit in Tripura, led the protest, denouncing what he deemed as a disrespectful portrayal of Goddess Saraswati on the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami.

The protestors demanded that the college take immediate action to rectify the situation, prompting the institute to drape the idol with a saree. ABVP, an RSS-affiliated student body, called for stringent measures against the college administration and urged Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha to intervene.

College authorities clarified that the idol's design adhered to traditional sculpture forms commonly seen in Hindu temples and emphasized that there was no intent to offend religious sentiments. Nevertheless, in response to the protests, the college replaced the idol and covered it with plastic sheets, positioning it discreetly behind the puja pandal.

Although police visited the scene, no formal complaint was filed by either the college or the protesting groups.
The incident highlights the sensitivity surrounding religious symbols and the divergent interpretations of cultural and traditional norms. It also underscores the importance of respectful portrayal and representation in religious observances.