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Monday, Oct 21, 2019

In this Bengal village Hindu dhakis beat drums for Muharram procession

When the organisers of the Muharram procession could not find a drummer, Hindus sent those hired for Durga puja to participate in it.

kolkata Updated: Oct 02, 2017 14:44 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times
File picture of a dhaki at a Kolkata puja pandal. The dhak is an integral part of Durga puja.
File picture of a dhaki at a Kolkata puja pandal. The dhak is an integral part of Durga puja.(HT Photo)

At a time when administrators were losing sleep to pre-empt trouble between communities by demarcating separate routes for Durga immersion and Muharram processions and planning elaborate police deployments, the residents of a remote village in West Bengal could well set an example in the state and beyond.

On Sunday, at Sunur, a village about 125 km from Kolkata, drummers of a local Durga puja beat the drums for a Muharram procession, when those hired for the tazia procession did not turn up.

Read: Tragedy strikes Muharram processions, 4 electrocuted, 27 hurt as Tazias hit power cables

This was the lone community Durga puja in the village and the procession passed in front of the pandal.

Sunur is a small village where most of the residents are dependent on agriculture for a living.

The village has about 800 inhabitants, and most are Hindus. However, some of the surrounding villages are dominated by Muslims.

For the past couple of decades women of the village observe fast till the Muharram procession passes through. The women also offer puja when the processions are held and break their fast only after the ritual.

The procession was supposed to start on Sunday afternoon. But when the organisers could not find drummers and the event was getting late, the Hindu drummers hired for Durga puja came to the rescue.

Read: Communal clashes erupt in Kanpur during Tazia procession, 30 injured

This is the first year when Hindus beat the drums of Muharram processions in the village, said locals.

“In our village we celebrate all religious programmes together. Members of the Muslim community join us in Durga puja. The women folk of Hindu households also observe a fast on Muharram till they offer puja after the procession. There is nothing wrong for us to beat drums for tazia processions. If needed, we will so again in future,” said Dilip Ganguly, secretary of the Sunur Ghugia Sarbajanin Durga Puja Committee.

“We are not interested in petty politics centering religion. We live here unitedly,” said Sheikh Israil, a village, who is also a member of the Durga puja committee, told HT.

Every year Muslims participate in the Durga puja and also raise subscriptions for the festivities.

This year, several Muharram committees in a few districts such as East Midnapore and Birbhum decided to organise the processions without sharp weapons to ensure communal harmony is not disturbed during the festive season.

Dashami and Muharram fell on successive days on September 30 and October.

First Published: Oct 02, 2017 14:44 IST

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