HomeIndiaPutting Aside Differences, Mamata Banerjee Invites PM Modi To Visit Ganga Sagar...

Putting Aside Differences, Mamata Banerjee Invites PM Modi To Visit Ganga Sagar Mela

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Kolkata: Keeping aside her political differences with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday extended a warm invitation to him to visit the Ganga Sagar Mela, an annual celebration during Makar Sankranti. In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister, she not only emphasized the event’s uniqueness but also appealed for its designation as a ‘National Fair.’



Unique Significance Of Ganga Sagar Mela

Mamata highlighted the Ganga Sagar Mela as one of the “largest spiritual human congregations” globally, second only to Kumbh Mela. She described the geographical splendour of the event, taking place at the confluence of the mighty Ganga River and the Bay of Bengal, unmatched in the world. The Sagar Island, where the Mela is held, sits adjacent to the Sundarbans area.

Historical And Religious Roots

The Chief Minister delved into the historical roots of the Mela, tracing it back to a time when the Indian Oceanic network connected Eastern Indian trade with ancient Greco-Roman commerce. She underscored the religious significance, stating that the Ganga Sagar Mela has deep mythological and astrological connections, referenced in ancient Indian epics like the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and Kalidasa’s Raghuvamsham.

A Global Pilgrimage Destination

Mamata emphasized that Ganga Sagar Mela is the only such event organized on an island not connected to the mainland. Despite this, it attracts pilgrims from across the world and various Indian states, with almost 1 crore pilgrims visiting last year and expectations of surpassing that number this year.

State Initiatives And Financial Challenges

The Chief Minister outlined the state government’s initiatives to ensure the smooth and safe movement of pilgrims, fully funded by the state exchequer. She mentioned the substantial expenditures incurred by the state government to organize an event of this magnitude, currently without any contribution from the central government.

Mamata disclosed that she had previously requested the central government to declare Ganga Sagar Mela as a ‘National Fair,’ equivalent to the recognized Kumbh Mela. However, a decision on this matter is still pending. In 2021, she raised concerns about the disparate financial support from the Centre, citing its funding for Kumbh Mela but not for Ganga Sagar Mela.

Ganga Sagar Mela 2024

The Ganga Sagar Mela for the year 2024 is scheduled from January 8-16, promising a spiritual and cultural extravaganza. The Chief Minister’s invitation to Prime Minister Modi not only highlights the cultural richness of the event but also seeks to elevate its status to a national level.

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