The annual Hindu festival of Durga Puja is held in India to worship Goddess Durga and celebrate her victory against Mahishasura according to legends. West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Odisha and Tripura are among the Indian states where the festival is celebrated on a large scale, although there are other states where Durga Puja is significant. While Indians living abroad have given an international touch to Durga Puja, the festival is also celebrated on a large scale in Bangladesh as the country has a good number of Bengali Hindu citizens.
With only a few days left for Durga Puja to begin, Bangladesh, like Bengal, is gearing up for the celebrations and to welcome the goddess Durga. According to a report by Prasar Bharati from Dhaka, preparations are on in full swing in Bangladesh and sculptors are busy giving final touches to Durga idols.
According to the report, sculptor Pratul Paul is working overtime like every year to transport the idols to different pandals. The number of orders is huge, and they are expected to earn a total of 80,000 to 1,00,000 Taka this year. Paul made fourteen sculptures last year. This year the number is less in comparison to him as he is working on 11.
Apart from Dhaka, their idols will also be transported to Faridpur, Barisal and some other places. He said inflation has increased the cost of many raw materials, but he plans to continue practicing the craft like his ancestors.
“The prices of all raw materials are increasing day by day, but there is no improvement in our situation. We are still the same as before,” Paul was quoted as saying. “It’s been three years since my father passed away. But, I’ve been doing this job since childhood, that’s how I feed my family.”
His sentiments were also echoed by other idol makers in the country.
A Dhaka Tribune report quoted Sukumar Paul, a sculptor from Faridpur district as saying, “I am charging Rs 40,000 for an idol, but it is not enough to meet both our ends.” Another sculptor in Beleshwar, Faridpur, Bishwajit Paul, charges Rs 50,000 for each idol “but the margin has gone down due to rising raw material prices”.
security in place
One of the major places for the celebration of Durga Puja is the Ramana Kali Temple. Thousands of devotees from all over Bangladesh visit the temple to see the idol of Durga.
Durga Puja is the biggest event celebrated by the Hindu community in Bangladesh. In keeping with the tradition, more than 32,000 puja mandapas (pandals) are being built across Bangladesh this year, reports Prasar Bharati.
Puja was hit by communal violence last year. A report in the Dhaka Tribune said idol vandalism has been reported at least once this year, but the administration has promised to ensure the presence of volunteers and police security at all pandals during the festival.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Mohd Shafikul Islam had earlier this week asked the police to be on a round-the-clock alert. Local media reports quoted him as saying, “Police will ensure tight security and remain vigilant so that the Durga Puja festival of Bengali Hindus can be celebrated in a peaceful manner.”
“During the puja we all have to work hard so that no untoward incident takes place in the puja mandaps in the capital. The police will also do their duty by staying in the worship pavilion.
Elsewhere too, officials have said that there will be CCTV cameras in the pavilions to ensure security, and policemen in uniform and plain clothes will be deployed near all the pandals to maintain law and order during the festival.