With Durga Puja around, these decades-old institutions are all decorated, and faithfuls are ready to celebrate -- lending a different tone of festivities to the state
Aizawl: Mizoram is a Christian-majority state. In every locality, one can find churches of different denominations. However, it’s not a rare sight to find a few Hindu temples, particularly managed by the Central Gorkha Mandir Committee, here and there.
Most of these religious institutions have been in Mizoram for almost 100 years. The amazing part is that, even in a state dominated by the Christians, there have never been any instances of conflict between the two faiths.
The two faiths have coexisted peacefully for many decades. Each festive season, they would convey well wishes to each other. There are many times when they would participate in the other’s festivities.
“I was born and brought up in Aizawl. I and my two sisters feel like we are part of the Mizo society. We have never faced any kind of discrimination from our Christian friends. We all are active members of the Young Mizo Association (YMA),”says Binda Bhattarai, a 22-year-old student of Mizoram University.
Binda is the eldest daughter of Kishor Kumar Bhattarai, the priest of Shiv Mandir at Khatla, a locality in Aizawl, which has one of the largest populations of Hindus in the state.
Kishor mentioned that in this temple, people would come for pujas on Sundays between 10:45 and 11 am. This is because people are usually busy during the week and Sunday is the day most convenient to them.
Most of the Hindus in Mizoram, particularly the Gorkhas, mentioned that they have never faced any kind of threat from Mizo society. Though the Gorkhas are a minority in the state, it is important to note that they are one of the most contributing minorities -- many have also taken part during the Mizo cessation movement.
Binda mentions that her family faces just one minor problem, “We are a Brahmin and we follow a strict vegetarian diet. As most of the restaurants in Aizawl are a non-veg restaurant, we hardly go out for dining and mostly take food from our home.”
With Dussehra coming up soon, Shiv Mandir is preparing to host pujas for the devotees.
Like every Durga Puja and Diwalis, the various temples within Aizawl and around will be decorated, and the faithfuls will celebrate with their food and music, lending a different tone of festive mood to the city.