At a time when the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple has closed its doors for girls and women despite a Supreme Court order, Kali Puja organisers in Siliguri have shunned traditions and allowed a group of women in Siliguri to worship Adya Maa (Kali), while they have organised the puja without a priest.
Significantly, when the puja organised by the Matrisangha Jankalyan Ashram was inaugurated, a group of five women welcomed Goddess Adha Kali by presenting a dance and a song.
Women were directly involved in organising the puja since Tuesday midnight to dawn on Wednesday, while hundreds of Siliguri people witnessed the unique presentation.
The managing committee of the Ashram’s Siliguri branch has also roped in people from all communities and religions like Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhism, and Jainism.
“Devotees have been offering their prayers and presenting various devotional songs, hymns and even Rabindra Sangeet,” organisers said.
As the Yajna went on, hundreds of people visiting the pandal were greeted by a Rabindra Sangeet ‘Agun’r Parosh Moni Chhoao Prane…’, while the music continues till the oblation of fire.
Notably, the Late Sudin Kumar Mitra, an employee of the Central excise department, established the Matrisangha Jankalyan Ashram, at different locations, including Kolkata and Siliguri.
Mitra organised the first puja in Siliguri in 1978, and termed it the ‘Sarba Bharatiya Adya Kali Puja’ and then set up the Ashram on Balaidas Chatterjee Road at Hakimpara in Siliguri.
Several devotees of Mitra, after his death in 1984, maintain the tradition by showcasing his photograph and his method of worship.
“Our Gurudev Sri Sudin Kumar Mitra has asked us to perform the Kali Puja without a priest, but by involving many people from the society. We maintain the tradition, the method of worship popularized by him and especially his guidance during the puja here. ‘No priest is required for the puja, you do your own puja,’ he used to say,” a member of the managing committee of the Ashram, Bikash Das, said.
“You will not be getting Ma (mother) by ignoring the people (Manush), because the first letter of Manush is Ma,” Sudin Kumar Mitra wrote on 29 July 1969.
Mitra, a resident of Kolkata, started the first puja in Allahabad, as he was posted there and went to many places in India and finally settled in Siliguri.
A poet, Subhan Das, who curiously witnessed that puja throughout the night, said: “Women took part directly to organise the puja when women are being prevented in a temple at Sabarimala in Kerala. Such puja is so significant at the present times we are experiencing.”
“I was delighted as the Rabindra Sangeet ‘Aguner Parosh Moni’ was played during the Yajna,” he added.