The Gouri Iccha Kali Mandir Durga Puja Committee of Tumbajote in Siliguri has set an example of communal harmony for the last 47 years with the participation of both the Hindu and Muslim communities in orgsing the event.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, orgsers have been unable to celebrate the festival as they do every year. However, they have made arrangements keeping in mind the guidelines prescribed by the Union Health Ministry.
Babu Khan, vice president of the orgsing committee, has been busy with the puja while president Shiv Kumar Nirala is cooperating with him fully.
"Even though we are in the middle of the pandemic, we are busy with the puja. I may belong to the Muslim community, but my family still celebrates puja with fervour. For us, festivals like Durga Puja do not belong to any particular community. Even festivals like Muharram, Eid, and Kali Puja are celebrated together," Khan told .
"I feel that Durga puja symbolises nationalism and anti-communalism. It should send a heartwarming message of communal harmony, rather than be divisive," he added.
President of the committee, Shiv Kumar Nirala said that members of both communities take part in all the rituals of the puja.
"We have been orgsing the puja with brothers and sisters of the Muslim community for the past 47 years. We never think that this is about Hindu or Muslim, rather it is about togetherness and celebration," Nirala said.
Ramesh Mishra, a local resident of Thumbajote said, "Durga Puja is one of the biggest festivals of Bengal and we the residents of this area are celebrating the festival with full enthusiasm. It is much more enjoyable when we celebrate with our Muslim brothers and sisters. This is a good lesson for our country."
Other residents also echoed the sentiments of Mishra, saying that there was a dearth of religious harmony in the country.
"We need to show that we are all a family. If we do this, enemy countries will never target our strong country," Muhammad Sahid Ali said.
This year, Durga Puja is being celebrated from October 23 to October 26 across the country.
( With inputs from ANI )
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