Kali Puja is a Hindu-Muslim initiative in this Assam village cluster | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Kali Puja is a Hindu-Muslim initiative in this Assam village cluster

People in Milan Chowk organise festivals celebrated by both religions such as Eid and Rongali Bihu.

india Updated: Oct 17, 2017 17:22 IST
Rahul Karmakar
An artist gives finishing touches to a Goddess Kali idol ahead of Kali Puja. About 10,000 people, comprising Hindus and Muslims, in three villages in Assam’s Milan Chowk, celebrate Kali Puja together.
An artist gives finishing touches to a Goddess Kali idol ahead of Kali Puja. About 10,000 people, comprising Hindus and Muslims, in three villages in Assam’s Milan Chowk, celebrate Kali Puja together.(PTI)

More than half a century ago, the convergence point of roads leading to three villages in western Assam’s Nalbari district was named Milan Chowk or centre of unity.

About 10,000 people live in these three villages — Sandheli, Pokua and Panigaon — about 75km north-west of Guwahati and half of them are Hindus and the other half Muslims.

When the inhabitants of these three villages decided to organise a Kali Puja in 2015, they realised why their forefathers had chosen the name.

The invite for the Kali Puja features names of both Hindus and Muslims. (HT Photo)

“Our forefathers vowed not to let communal disturbances elsewhere touch the three villages. And regular meetings at Milan Chowk have helped maintain harmony even in the toughest of times,” Mohammed Ibrahim Ali, president of Milan Chowk Committee, told the Hindustan Times.

During such meetings, the villagers decided to help organise each others’ festivals and share good vibes. But it was in 2015 that they started organising Kali Puja on a large scale.

“This is the third time that we are organising Shyama Puja. We ensure that the rituals are according to tradition,” Ali said.

Shyama is another name of Kali — the Hindu goddess of dissolution and destruction.

The committee organises festivals celebrated by people of both religions such as Eid and Rongali Bihu.

Paramesh Sarma, the committee’s working president, said festivals organised jointly by Hindus and Muslims are occasions for people of the three villages to catch up.

“Unlike olden times, work takes many people out of villages these days,” he said.

Accordingly to Rijumoni Ahmed, the committee’s secretary, the community feasting after the festive rituals is what the villagers look forward to.