The beats of drum from nearby pandals has been making Hafiza Begum Choudhury feel joyous. She has been celebrating the Durga Puja festival since her childhood and this year is no exception.
“I am born and brought up in the Assam where religious identity is not questioned while celebrating festivals. I am a Muslim but I celebrate Durga puja, Diwali with the same fervour that I celebrate Eid with. I even follow the rituals of Durga Puja,” Choudhury, a resident of Panjabari-Juripar area, city told Awaz-the Voice.
Choudhury and her friends, relatives and neighbours have been participating in the Bipanon Khetra Sarbajanin Durgoutsav being held at Panjabari since 2018. As elsewhere in the State, the festival brings both Hindus and Muslims of the area closer.
Noted litterateur Anuradha Sarma Pujari said “the word Sarbajanin does not refer to a single linguistic or religious community. It implies people of all communities. “True to the meaning of Sarbajanin, we all, Hindus and Muslims, are celebrating the Durga Puja at the Bipanon Khetra.”
Pujari said the Durga Puja at Bipanon Ketrahas showcases the ethos and values of unity in diversity of the Assamese society. “Besides festivals like Durga puja, I do celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Zuha with equal enthusiasm and joy,” she said.
Senior citizen Ranjit Sutradhar said the decades’-long tradition of Hindu-Muslim unity in Assam is aptly reflected at Bipanon Khetra Sarbajanin Durgoutsav.
In fact, the festivities at Bipanon Khetra Sarbajanin Durgoutsav will not conclude with the immersion of Durga idols on October 15; these have been extended to October 23 when Muslim residents of Panjabari area along with their Hindu counterparts will observe Eid-ul-Milad-un-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad, founder of Islam.