From special correspondent
Silchar, Sept 30: Since late morning, there was beeline of devotees in the thoroughfares of the towns of Silchar, Karimganj and Hailakandi carrying the idols of Goddess Durga in the vehicles to the fil destition of immersion ghats in order to bid adieu to the Goddess. The immersions however had a jarring note with rains lashing the valley for more than three hours. More spell of rains is expected with an overcast sky. But, it could hardly deter or dampen the spirit of the devotees.
It was no doubt pensive to watch as the idols were being immersed at Sadarghat of this town today. The district administration along with police, municipal board and water resource department as well as SDRF have made elaborate arrangement for smooth and hassle free immersion. The once brisling and humming puja mandaps and pandals started looking deserted and as the immersion continued, it was no doubt a gloomy scerio for the moment.
Some puja mandaps were preparing themselves for ‘Vijoya Dashami’, with usual holy rituals and exchange of goodwill and good wishes among all those present. The day of Dashami has its own significance as it indicates the victory of good over evil. It was on this day that Goddess Durga emerging with fearsome weaponry and supreme powers killed the demon Mahishasur which had created a reign of terror and usurped heaven and driven out Gods and Goddesses. The Gods returned to heaven along with saints and sages from the earth, praised and paid glowing tributes to Durga.
A unique feature of the five day long festivity was the decorum and decency maintained by the community pujas in consistent with the guidelines issued by the district administration. Though the use of microphones was restrained during the celebration, the immersion processions that were taken out late afternoon looked out of order with blaring sounds from the microphones attached with the vehicles. There was less of symphony and more of the cacophony of varied mixture of Hindi, Bengali, Assamese, English and Punjabi. For many revelers, mostly young brigade, it was ‘delight in disorder’.
The procession with Gods and Goddesses started from 9.15 am today, according to the Inland Water Transport Department. The district administration did make elaborate arrangements to maintain law and order and also pressed into service mechanized boats with life saving jackets from the Inland Water Transport Department and BSF around the immersion ghat.
At Karimganj immersion ghat, it was a different scerio. Hundreds of people, men, women and children, gathered on both sides of the riverine border of Karimganj with river Kushiara dividing India and Bangladesh, to witness the immersions. Facing the border town of Barak Valley is Jakiganj in Sylhet on the other side of the district which came alive with revellers waving hands and shouting at one another as the idols were being immersed which continued till late night. The district administration of Karimganj with the coordition of BSF sent packets of sweetmeats for the puja revelers of Bangladesh as a mark of brotherhood and friendship. According to information from the border town, more than hundred puja committees immersed their idols in Kushiara. Another report from Hailakandi says that 38 puja committees made arrangements for the immersion of idols in a most peaceful manner in river Dhaleswari.
In the three districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi, the puja celebration was no doubt marked by distinct bright illumitions as well as decorations with big budget puja committees stealing the limelight for the uniqueness of their idols. But, as in the last 7 years, it was Udharbond Kalibari Road puja committee which remained the centre of attraction. With best of traffic magement in all the districts, there was neither any srl nor jam. Cops maintained vigilance and surveillance with rule book in mind. Green was the theme of many Pujas and the message conveyed was against pollution and global warming. With no power cut or load–shedding, it was truly the festival of worship and light.
However, bidding farewell to Goddess Durga on the day of Vijaya Dashami was sorrowful and at the same time to look at the way the youths conducted themselves on the occasion. Four days of prayer, worship, and festivity culmited in abject revelry on the immersion ceremony.
It is relevant to mention that the great Indian classical epic ‘Ramayan’, tells the story of Lord Rama who went to Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from Rava. He came to Durga to seek her blessings. Pleased with his devotion, she appeared before him and blessed him. The epic battle began on Saptami and Rava was killed between Ashtami and vami and cremated on Dashami which is celebrated throughout the country with so much fanfare. In northern India, the day is celebrated as Dashera with the effigy of Rava being consigned to flames.
Notwithstanding all the solemnity and serenity, the attitude and behaviour of youths walking with the processions of various puja committees seemed to mock at the hoary tradition and religious ethos. It were they who took control of the processions to the Sadarghat immersion point. This disturbing picture came out more glaringly after dusk. Most displeasing was their gesticulations, some even appeared to be inebriated. Household or residential pujas knowing well the growing disorderliness at the time of immersion took the wisest decision to perform the immersion rituals before it was dusk. It is no doubt a reflection on the moral and ethical decline and one cannot but shudder to think of how this holiest of holy festival will take a shape in future. The organizers, the district and police administration as well as the senior citizens should give a serious thought to it and evolve strategy to deal with the mece of hooliganism.