Britain gears up for Durga Puja festivities

Charusmita Monday 22nd September 2014 14:00 EDT
Durga Puja celebration in Camden Town, 2012

The grandeur of the Durga Puja celebrations across the globe for Hindu Bengali community is gaining new heights. Every year in the UK, this community gets together in different places to witnesses the magnitude of the celebration of this festival.

Namita, from the Royal Berkshire Bengali Association (RBBA), says, “For this year's function, we have a 'Dhak' competition”. Dhak is traditionally a huge membranophone instrument from South Asia. Its drum beats are integral to Pujo celebrations. The donations received by the RBBA go to a different charity every year. Theirs is one of the very few Durga Puja events to be held in a marquee ('Pandal', traditionally) as mostly banquet halls or community centres are booked for the purpose in the UK instead of the traditional Pandal.

The Pujo festivities in Britain also include folk artists from India and the South London Sarbojonin Durga Puja (SLSDP), this year, are coming up with a theatre performance with 11 actors as a part of their event. “The drama will be about Maa Durga and her journey. We intend to take the festivity a notch higher”, says Arup Ghose of the SLSDP. While Bijon Kumar from the Sanatan Bengali Association (SBA, Belsize Park) feels that it better to shift the fun-filled festivities to the next weekend 'so that venue has the maximum footfall'. However, Arup disagrees, “We never play around with dates. People make time when they are willing to come”.

The jubilation does not always follow the conventional routes. The Pujo organised by the Sanatan Bengali Association is trying something unique this year. We would be showcasing a video about what goes into the making of sculptures of Maa Durga in Kolkata, India. This, of course, will be accompanied by the anjali, aarti and a grand feast.

The London Durga Puja Dusserah Committee (King's Cross) is hosting this year's Pujo celebrations at the grand Camden Centre. Their theme of the Puja this year is to promote the notion that a strike could be balanced between development and conserving nature and that it is not really necessary to sacrifice one for the other. Lakshmi N. Mittal, the world renowned industrialist remains the main patron of this organisation. It is touted to be the biggest Autumn Fest outside India.

Amidst the ongoing celebrations, we wish our readers a Shubho Bijoya! We hope you rejoice in collective triumph of Truth over Ignorance.

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