Durga Puja in Bengal

Within few days the festival mood will be automatically created as Maa is coming.

Monsoon has deprived West Bengal, specially South Bengal this year. Still people of South Bengal are praying for at least two or three heavy rain. Eleven districts of West Bengal are drought hit and already declared officially. This year is not going to be productive in respect of cultivation. Cry of Bidhu's mother ( from poetry of Rabindranath Tagore) will be heard from Bengal villages because Maa Durga is coming as usual. Again the wide financial inequality will be very much prominent during this festival season. One set of dress vs. number of dresses. Old neglected citizens from different old age homes would silently wait for their nearest and dearest ones. Memories of Durga Puja of their early ages will haunt them. Still we love Durga Puja. Durga Puja is in our blood.

Durga Puja not only brings happiness, it brings cry for a section of our society also.

History of Durga Puja

Originally the month of Durga Puja is in the month of Chaitra (March or April) but the month has changed gradually and the worship is performed either in September or October. As the month of puja is deviated from it's original month, it is known as Akaal Bodhon also.

Raja Nab Krishna Deb of Shobhabazar organized Akaal Bodhon for the first time in 1757 in honour of Lord Clive for the victory in Battle of Palassey. So the start of Sharadiya Durga Puja is not very encouraging for us.

From the ancient times Durga Puja is held in Bengal. From different Bengali literature of different centuries, like Durgabhaktitarangini by Vidyapati -14th century, evidence of Durga Puja in Bengal is found. However Durga Puja became popular during 18th century when Pujas were conducted by Bengal Zaminders powered by British rulers. They performed pujas mainly to show their money power and to please their lords – British rulers.

Today's Puja

Gradually Durga Puja shifted from Zaminders houses to Sarbojanin. First such Sarbojanin puja was held in Guptipara.

Today's puja can be viewed more as an art exhibition than religion. Theme Puja has become popular where pandal decoration gets more importance. Artists are doing constant research to change the shape and style of idol. Green coloured mahisasur, the demon is almost invisible now. Face of Maa Durga now looks like the face of Kareena Kapoor or Katrina Kaif. Winds of change are every where.

Still Durga Puja has a special meaning in every Bengali family. During this festival time a get together among the family members normally happens. Special dishes will be cooked. Those who are working outside Bengal or India try to come home. Married daughters visit their parent house. Style of Puja may change further but these cultures of Bengalis will never change.


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