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In the spirit of universal brotherhood, Muslims revive Durga Puja for their Hindu brethren

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Representational image. In a Kolkata locality the Muslims have revived Durga Puja after nine long years

Festivals bring out the best in human beings, including love for their neighbours. Highlighting this amply is the example of Muslim residents in a Kolkata locality who are reviving Durga Puja with all the fanfare that goes with it.

Located near Alimuddin Street, this locality stopped having Puja for the last nine years as the Bengali Hindu residents of the area had moved out gradually, according to a Times of India report. With only three families left behind, it was rather difficult to continue the tradition.

This year is going to be different as already a pandal has come up on AJC Bose Road near the Pratt Memorial School. Wondering how? Because the Muslims this time decided to come forward and organise the celebrations. They approached two of the remaining Hindu members of the locality, Jayanta and Sharmila Sen, to enquire as to how to go about organising the Puja, as they were unaware of the rituals and procedures involved.

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Both were not only surprised but rather deeply touched. “This Durga Puja had started in the late 1960s. At one point, my husband too was active in organising the Puja but gradually most families settled elsewhere, and nobody was left to shoulder the responsibility. But when the local Muslims approached us for guidance because they are not aware of the rituals, we were both surprised and touched. We decided to extend all possible help so that they can organise the Puja,” Sharmila told TOI.

Following this there was a flurry of activities – collecting and organising funds, visiting Kumartuli for ordering the idol, and arranging other formalities that go with the puja.

Talking about this initiative, Rahman, a social activist of the area said: “Most of us have very fond memories of this Durga Puja. As children we would go to the pandal and spend a lot of time there. It was a shared culture of this area. We wanted to revive the Durga Puja for our Bengali brothers and sisters.” He stressed on their shared history of peaceful coexistence. “The festive spirit will strengthen the bond between the people,” he said.