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Durga Puja: Ashtami Pushpanjali now with Bengali verses

Sanskrit scholar Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, linguist Pabitra Sarkar, and Kaliprasanna Bhattacharya, a priest who has conducted Durga Puja rituals for at least 60 years, came together for the initiative to promote Bengali

September 29, 2022 11:03 am | Updated 11:03 am IST - Kolkata

An idol of goddess Durga at a community pandal ahead of Durga Puja festival in Kolkata, September 28.

An idol of goddess Durga at a community pandal ahead of Durga Puja festival in Kolkata, September 28. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Durga Puja ritual of Pushpanjali on Maha Ashtami can now be conducted in Bengali with a scholar, linguist and a priest coming together to translate the verses from Sanskrit.

Sanskrit scholar Nrisingha Prasad Bhaduri, linguist Pabitra Sarkar, and Kaliprasanna Bhattacharya, a priest who has conducted Durga Puja rituals for at least 60 years, came together for the initiative as part of a campaign to promote Bengali.

“The devotion lies in the heart and not in the language in which the shlokas are chanted. It is always better to offer the prayers in a language, which we know and understand, rather than saying it in Sanskrit with half of the meaning not understood by us,” Bhaduri told PTI.

The rituals on Maha Ashtami - the second day of the four-day festival, including Pushpanjali and Sandhi Puja, are considered to be the most significant ones and are conducted in Sanskrit, also called Dev Bhasha or the divine language.

Even though Pushpanjali, or offering of flowers, is held on multiple days during the Durga Puja, the one on Maha Ashtami is most revered with thousands of people queuing up at pandals to take part in the ritual.

The Bengali shlokas have been compiled in a book, which has been distributed among the puja committees of Kolkata. The Sanskrit verses are also there in the book if someone wants to check the accuracy of the translation, said Srimanta Choudhury who is the head of the campaign, initiated by a group of Bengali techies living abroad.

The Bengali verses can be downloaded from chantbangla.org in PDF or in an audio format, chanted by noted elocutionist Satinath Mukherjee, he said.

Around 250 Durga Puja committees in West Bengal will be conducting the rituals in Bengali this year, he added.

Not only the community Pujas, but also the Pujas at several Bonedi Bari or traditional households will be conducted with these verses. Some residential complexes will also be using the Bengali sholkas, Mukherjee said.

Among the notable community Pujas taking part in the initiative are SB Park Sarbajanin in Thakurpukur, Behala Club and Ajeyo Sanhati in Haridevpur.

“Bengalis across the globe have been asked to upload the video of them performing Pushpanjali in Bengali. We expect that our initiative will be well accepted by Durga Puja organisers,” Mr. Mukherjee said.

“To promote it, we have also produced a music video that starred well-known Durga Puja artists such as Santan Dinda and Sushanta Pal, among others,” he said.

The Durga Puja organised by the association of sex workers, Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, will also conduct the ritual in Bengali, said its liaison officer Mahasweta Mukherjee. 

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