When festivities blur religious lines

One can hardly tell as to whether those revelling in preparations in the capital are doing it for which one of the two big festival — Durga Puja or Eid-ul-Zuha.

Written by Arshad Ali | Kolkata | Published: October 11, 2013 5:39:03 am

One can hardly tell as to whether those revelling in preparations in the capital are doing it for which one of the two big festival — Durga Puja or Eid-ul-Zuha. That is the mood in the city at present,and that is how it matters to them.

“It is wonderful how these people value my contribution. It encourages me to go on,” says member of Ekbalpore Sharbojonin Durgotsab Samiti,Shah Jahan,who has been particpating in the community puja since childhood. On the possibility of “rain gods playing a spoilsport on Eid”,he says: “If it happens,namaz would be offered inside the puja pandal.”

Sirajul Karim,president of Mominpur Sporting Club,says the committe will “immerse the idol on Vijayadashmi day” with the pandal stands to be used next day as the venue for namaz”. “Isn’t it good enough an example of the communal harmony we live in here?” he asks.

Secretary of Mansatala Sarbojonin Durgotsab Committee in Kidderpore,Md Sheru is more busy with planning works for the pujas than for Eid. “The crisscrossing of the celebrations has left us busier,with puja schedule being more hectic.”

With over 60 per cent of the puja organisers at Park Circus from Muslim community,people say “a lesson could be taken from this communal blend”. “Everyone actively participates. The mela put up for the puja remains till Eid; only the banner changes from Durgotsav to Eid Milan Mela,” Beniapukur United Puja Committee president,Raghu Dasgupta said.

There are enough references to be drawn from the way people come together to celebrate these festivals. Busy with the supervisory work for the erection of a pandal,assistant secretary of Mayurbhanj Durgotsav Samity,Md Naseem will get occupied with the committee’s cultural programme and charity work after Eid.

For the political leaders,participation and involvement during the time of such celebrations assume importance.

Says Trinamool MP Sultan Ahmed: “I sometimes help them with funds,help them get sponsors,and oversee that everything is done according to the law.”

Fire minister Javed Khan said,“Bengal has its own heritage and people here take it as an utsav,irrespective of their religion. The communal barrier is a thing of the past.”

One for the parents

The 60-61 Pally pandal in central Kolkata gives a message to the youth,who think parents are a burden and send them to old age homes. ‘Live statues’ in 14 kiosks depict the pain,suffering and longing of a person put in the old age home before he ends up at a crematorium. A team of 24 artistes,Shantipur in Nadia,have been brought in to pose as the ‘live statues’. They take a 10-minute break every 90 minutes. “If 10,000 youths visit our pandal and if we manage to stir even one’s conscience ,our purpose will be served,” said a senior member of the committee.

*Text and photo: Partha Paul

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