BARIPADA: Love and compassion for people can transcend the boundaries of faith and establish communal harmony without even seeking to establish it. Kahinoor Islam proves it with his deeds.
This 74-year-old Muslim resident has been the sole reason Tentulidinga village under Gangraj gram panchayat has its own Durga Puja celebration today.
Back in 1986, upon seeing women of the village travel to Baripada town just to take part in Durga Puja, he came up with the idea of starting the festival in their own village. Why can’t we hold our own puja, he asked? When he shared his suggestions with villagers, they agreed to his proposal and with funds collected from locals, the Tentulidinga Durga Puja Committee was established. Since then Kahinoor is discharging the responsibility of committee head with around 500 members.
“It is only because of villagers’ support and encouragement that I’m able to keep the committee running and have been successfully conducting the Durga Puja festival for the past 37 years,” said Kahinoor adding that he was only 34 when he took charge of the committee. His two daughters Taha Parveen and Joha lend financial support in running the committee. Taha is an executive with a US-based company in Pune while younger sister Joha is an Economics postgraduate. Both are proud of what their father has been doing with such devotion for the last 37 years.
The best part of the celebration at Tentulidinga is people from different walks of life, despite belonging from other communities, provide financial support to the committee to facilitate its smooth running.
“The devotion in Kahinoor’s heart for the puja towers over elaborate decoration, lights and pandal,” said Paritosh Nanda, who as a priest, has been attending to the puja duties of the committee for the past 21 years.
“After the rituals get over, we distribute prasad to people of all communities living in the village. The puja celebrations are being successfully carried out for last 37 years only because of our elder brother Kahinoor,” said the committee member Bijan Das, Deepak Mishra, Bhagirathi Nayak and Anil Kumar Nayak, all of whom are members of the puja committee.