New Delhi, Oct 3: The palpable Durga Puja fervour has not gripped India but neighbouring Bangladesh is celebrating as well.
Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the Durga Puja is not just a festival of the Hindu community but it signifies the destruction of evil forces. ‘it is now a universal festival’.
‘Destruction of evil forces and worship of truth and beauty are the main motives of Sharadiya Durgotsob. On the occasion of Durga Puja, I wish peace, welfare and prosperity to all citizens, including Hindus,’ she said.
Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid in a separate message echoed the same sentiments. ‘The country’s Hindu community has been celebrating the puja amid huge enthusiasm and festivity with different rituals since ancient times. Durga Puja is not only a religious festival, but also a social one,’ he said.
Notwithstanding the violence that marked the festive spirit last year, the number of pandals has increased marginally to 32,168 the country this year from 32,118 last year. As many as 241 in the Puja pandals are in Dhaka.
Last year, the festival was marred by violence leaving at least seven people dead. Temples and pandals were vandalised.
The authorities, this year, have put in place additional security measures.
‘We have already taken three tiers of security measures at mandaps ahead of Durga Puja and it will continue till the end of the Puja,’ Dhaka Tribune quoted outgoing IGP Benazir Ahmed as saying.
The festival, albeit a Hindu religious one, also marks a social occasion for friends and families to meet up.
Hindus comprise 10 per cent of Bangladesh’s population. Hasina, who has come down heavily on the radical elements including members of the Hefazat-e-Islam, has repeatedly underlined the need to uphold secular principles in the country.
‘Be it the minority Hindus or the majority Muslims, all use this opportunity to throng pandals, dance to the sounds of the dhak (a special percussion instrument) and indulge in delectable bhog during the festival,’ Dhaka Tribune said.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)