Agartala: This is a perfect example of communal harmony at a time when most places of the world are getting divided along religious lines.
At Durgapur village of Sonamura sub-division in Tripura’s Sepahijala district, the majority Muslim community has joined hands with its Hindu counterpart in organising Kali Puja during Diwali every year at a temple that was established about 54 years ago.
The Sonamura sub-division is at a distance of 65 km from Agartala and has a population of nearly 3 lakh people with Muslims being the majority.
Speaking with EastMojo, local resident Abdul Haq said that the worshiping of Goddess Kali during Diwali started in the area in 1964 when a local resident Debandra Chatterjee from then Pakistan shifted to India in Sonamura and started worshiping Kali at his residence.
“The puja here had stopped after the death of Chatterjee and his son Tapas Chatterjee left the village. Later on, we realised the importance of this temple, as it spreads the message of communal harmony and integrity among the masses and started organising the puja every year,” Haq said.
“Last year, when a massive storm hit the state, the shed of the temple was destroyed but after a few days, I took the initiative to install the temple. We started worshiping Goddess Kali once again,” said Irshid Miah, another resident.
People of this village, both Muslims and Hindus, jointly collect funds and contribute from their earnings to organise the puja here for the past 55 years. Starting from cleaning to arranging the idol for puja, everything is done by the villagers.
Had the Muslim brothers not joined hands with us, it would have been difficult for the Hindu families living in the area to organise the Kali puja here, said Rajib Paul, a resident of the village.
Shanara Begum of Durgapur village said that the Brahmin does the rituals while we prepare Khichri for all of us. We don’t allow any miscreants in the premises of the temple since we never discriminate between Mandir and Masjid here in this village.
Abdul Sattar, a local journalist from Sonamura, said that the village having 65% of the Muslim population has set an example of communal harmony and never in the past have they fought over their religious beliefs.
Meanwhile, in Sastri Club, a social organisation at Sonamura sub-division, the club has 36 active members, of which 22 are Muslims and they have been celebrating Kali Puja every year since 1963.
Speaking with EastMojo, former minister and club secretary Billa Miah said, “We have set specific criteria for the membership in the club, one needs to have at least matriculation pass or have appeared in the board exams to get enrolled here.”
The club has over 1,000 former members who are now well established and the Shyama puja is organised by self donations of the members, Miah said.
Shyama is another name of Kali, the goddess of dissolution and destruction.