Setting an example of harmony amid the country’s communal tension, several Durga Pujas in Tripura are being organised by the Muslim community.
The big budget puja of the ‘Blood Drop’ club in the Sonamura sub-division of Sipahijala district was held under the guidance of a Muslim president of the puja committee.
“In this Hindu majority area, they have elected me as President of the Puja Committee for the past three consecutive years. From my childhood I have been involved with the Durga Puja because I have never felt that it is for the Hindus only. We organize the puja, eat and share the joy jointly,” said Basirudding Bhuyan, President of the Puja Committee.
“Even your question comes unusual to me, because I have never faced such query in my locality that how a Muslim could be a puja committee president,” he said.
Bijoy Roy, a member of the club said, “you would find many Durga pujas are being funded or organized by the Muslims in this sub-division, because we take the puja as sarbajanin, (for all) and not for the Hindus only.” Muslims constitute eight per cent of the total population in the state and they mostly live in this sub-division.
At Durgapur village in this sub-division where Muslims constitute 90 per cent of the population, the community actively participated in the puja in making idols, building pandals, besides funding, said Subodh Nama, a puja organizer.
“In Durga puja we do not make any communal or religious division,” said Jalillur Rehaman, a local advocate. Member of the Sipahijala Zilla Parshad, Shamshul Haque said, “who is Muslim or who is Hindu is not an issue to us in organizing Durga Puja. We have been witnessing since long that Hindus and Muslims are jointly organizing the Puja here.”
The situation is similar in other parts of the state too. “From Saptami to Dashami we stay and eat together. Our puja committee secretary is a Dalit and vice-president and joint secretary are Muslims and we do all works for the puja together,” said Netaji Sangha Puja committee President Anup Roy in Kailashahar sub-division of Unakoti district.
To a question, he said, “we are against all kinds of communal or cast conflict and also condemn the recent communal flare-ups in parts of the country.”