HYDERABAD: It’s that time of the year again when the weather turns cooler ready to bring in festivities of goddess Durga coming home. But the year 2020 isn’t going to witness anything of the sort which is seen every year. To avoid the spread of the pandemic, many Durga Puja committees in the city have decided not to hold the celebrations on a grand level this year.
With a population of 4.5 lakh Bengali denizens, the festivities used to begin much ahead in advance. The idol of the goddess used to be brought from Kumartuli, Kolkata as the place is known to create exquisite protimas of the deity. Later the same would be given finishing touch by the local artisans from Dhoolpet.
A quiet festival
This time the festival is going to be a silent affair. There will not be pandal hopping by the people from all communities to enjoy the festival and savour Bengali delights like Calcutta Biryani, Kathi Roll, Machher Chop, Kosha Mangsho among other dishes. Says Sumit Sen, secretary of Hyderabad Bengali Samity, “The puja will not be grand this year. We are going to organise a small scale puja at the same premises but the decision will also depend on the police permission that we get.
The puja will be only for the samity members and there will be live streaming on digital platforms. We will have slots for our members to come and offer anjali. Only on Saptami, Ashtami and Navami they will be allowed to visit the place. We are requesting people to stay back home.” They have ordered a three feet tall deity from Chaderghat. There won’t be any food stalls and distribution of prasad. All the cultural programmes will be streamed online. The celebration at the Indira Park Road is the oldest Drga Puja celebrated in the city. This year it turns 79.
Other than the regular celebrations, some of the committees also organised Pujo Parikrama and have awarded the pandals as best puja pandal after visiting several in different parts of Hyderabad. A group named Bengalis in Hyderabad (BIH) used to organise ‘Hyderabad Sharad Somman’ for the same. “This time we are not doing any parikrama. It’s going to be a really small affair. We might go for live video streaming. There won’t be any cultural programmes this time,” says Partha Pratim Mallik, the secretary of BIH.
Online streaming of puja
Keyes High School, Secunderabad is renowned for showcasing splendid idols of Goddess Durga. Their pandals are elaborate, the deities sparkling with the craftsmanship of artistes based in Kumartuli, Kolkata. But this year the venue has been shifted to Mehboob College, at Patny near the clock tower, not Keyes High School the way it was done every year,” says Atin Chaudhuri, member of Bangiya Sanskritik Sangha (BSS) adding, “Everything is to be done in a very controlled way.
We offer anjali in the morning to the deity; it will be done online this year. Not more than 25 people will be there at the venue which will include the priests and the members.” This time they are getting the deity from Hyderabad itself. “The goddess will be installed separately not more than five feet. The daughters and sons of the deity will be three feet. Other than that there will not be any bhog. In the evening we will keep the doors closed. All the cultural programmes will be held online,” signs off Subrata Ganguly, the general secretary of BSS.
Durga Puja begins on October 22 and will continue till October 26.
— Saima Afreen email@example.com @Sfreen