Bombay Durga Bari Samiti (“the Samiti”) is one of the oldest Durga Pujas of Mumbai, dating back to the year 1930. They are now less than a decade away from being a hundred years old. It began pre Independence and is usually a 5 day long celebration filled with traditional pujas and revelry.
Durga Puja goes Digital
Like every year, they will continue to promote the culture and ethos of Bengal and bring it to the people of Mumbai, while retaining its traditional “ghoroa” (homely) nature - only this year it will be a ‘ghoroa Pujo’ in the truest sense of the term- devotees will get to enjoy Pujo from the comfort and safety of their homes.
All our traditional pujos and rituals including Pushpanjali, Arati, Shondhi Pujo, Maa’er bhog, will be carried out at Sangam Hall, Marine Drive and will be digitally broadcasted to all our devotees on our multiple social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter. The samiti hopes to go back to our usual celebrations from next year.
Rituals will be conducted keeping in mind the new normal. In light of the pandemic and safety of our members and devotees, they are going to have a no-guest Durga Puja this time. This will be the first time in 91 years of our Puja heritage that we are having a ceremonial Ghot Pujo instead of a Murti Pujo.
“Ghot Pujo – essentially means worshipping an urn symbolising the goddess. There will be 2 urns symbolising Maha Durga and each of her children.
Keeping in mind the ongoing pandemic that we find ourselves in the middle of, an in house talent of ours – Arunima Bhattacharya is creating a 3 dimensional backdrop of Maa Durga and her children as we do not have a Murti Puja this year” explains Shrimati Mitali Poddar, Convenor of the Protima Committee.
Their backdrop will be Eak Chaler i.e. all idols are surrounded by one halo which is being followed traditionally for many years. While change is the only constant, what has blessedly remained unchanged is the spirit, enthusiasm and dedication with which our members consistently work at making the Samiti a premier, non-sectarian, cultural and charitable organization in Mumbai
Durga Puja is not the only festival celebrated by the Samiti, every year we celebrate the Bengali New Year along with Kabiguru’s birth anniversary followed by Sharodutsav, Kojagori Lakshmi Puja, Kali Puja and BasantUtsavs.
Being a charitable institution, the Samiti actively undertakes various charitable initiatives including:
Granting scholarships to underprivileged and deserving students under the aegis of the Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar Education Fund;
Supporting The Society for the Education of the Crippled, Agripada in their stupendous work done in the field of education;
Distributing food grains to organizations looking after and providing education to underprivileged children, etc. As has been the case for many years now, ‘bhog’ is distributed to a large number of underprivileged and less fortunate persons, irrespective of caste, creed or religion. 2018 was the first time in the Samiti’s history, sarees that were received over the Puja days were donated to Pranab Kanya Sangha, an organisation that we have supported for several years.
We partnered with Robin Hood’s Army (RHA) for the first time in 2018 and have continued ever since and our bhog has reached many more hungry mouths as a result of this association.
“We have been celebrating Durga Puja in an environmentally friendly way and hope to continue doing so in the years to come. After all Durga Puja is the celebration of the victory of good over evil and one of the greatest challenges that we face today is the ongoing pandemic and now the threat to our world is now greater than ever,” says President Shrimati Susmita Mitra. “Keeping the safety of our devotees in mind, we have with heavy hearts decided to do away with our traditional celebrations and honour Maa Durga with a ‘ghot pujo’ which we will digitally broadcast on various social media platforms.”
Shrimati Jayati Dasgupta - Chairperson of Bombay Durga Bari Samiti states that, as an organization, the Samiti has always believed in promoting performing arts and artists from diverse backgrounds, while endeavouring to achieve its philanthropic objectives. The programmes organised by the Samiti reflect the cultural ethos of India and meet their objective of furthering National Integration. However, this year, any programmes that we do will be no attendance programmes and will be digitally live streamed to our viewers.