Dhar Bari Durga Puja
Dhar Bari Durga Puja – Colootola
Purna Chandra Dhar, a cashier at the erstwhile British firm Jardineand Skinner, as well as Tata Finlay Limited, was a successful businessman. But success was not taken too well by society at the time. “The family was ostracized for crossing the kala pani (a term for Indians who went to the UK in the 19th century) and dealing with the foreign trade of salt and sugar,” said Kalachand Dhar. The family were forced to flee to the Hooghly and finally arrived in Kolkata in the 1850’s.
In the year of 2016, Dhar family has celebrated 159 year old Durga Puja. It was Purna Chandra Dhar who begun the Durga Pujas on the premises. But the beginning of the puja was not at all pleasant. It was in 1946, the communal riot outraged the sense of humanity and secular consensus , resulting communal polarization. Secularism in India is flawed and it has been used as an instrument of political expediency. People were terrorized…Hindus said, the terrorists were Muslim and Muslims uttered , the culprits were Hindus….the British smiled behind the curtain. Unfortunately we were trapped in the web of some opportunist politicians. It was very difficult to identify the killer or a savior. Because the words, Terrorist, Criminal are not written on anyone’s forehead. But when the fear of terror run after someone, he or she gets petrified and escape. During that time Dhars’ absconded from their house. But the shrewd British guided them back to their “Tin Mahala Bari”. ‘Basatbari’, ‘Dolbari’ and ‘Thakurbari’.
The Durga Puja of Dhar Bari commences with the Kathamo Puja , which is scheduled on the day of Ratha Yatra. Then after the articulation of the clay idol is taken place. Mahalaya is an auspicious occasion observed seven days before the Durga Puja. This day announces the arrival of the Goddess,the supreme power for the demolition of the evil. There is a detailed method to worshiping Goddess Durga that are mentioned in the scriptures. Items which are needed for the ritual worship of the goddess should be collected beforehand so that the ritual is performed smoothly. Dhars’ have been following all the rituals since 150 years. Main Puja starts from Maha Saptami. Kola Bow is being carried to Ganga for pre-dawn bath. The Saptami Puja follows Kalparambho and Mahasnan. The Maha Ashtami commences with Ashtami Puja , followed by Arati and Puspanjali. The a special ritual takes place, i.e “Dhuno porano”, where the married women pray to Durga Maa for the peace and prosperity of their children as well as families by holding burning Malsas on their palms and heads. It is a glorious moment to watch.
The family follows Vaisnav philosophy where animal sacrifice is prohibited. “The idol that we worship is known as abhaya murti and has two hands instead of ten. There are also two lions facing each other and pouncing on a lump of flesh,” explained Kanailal Dhar. The mansion today is divided into three parts because of family partitions. Each part receives a turn to organise the Puja. The ‘Dolbari’ was being enlighted the “Jharbaati”, where, the eminent personality like Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Kanon Devi used to come here .Shri. Purno Chandra Dhar was started the Koolutola Haribhakti Prodayini Sabha whereShri Shri Ramakrishna Deb visited the thakur dalan during a religious discussion.