| Visitors outside the Puja pandal at Balua Chowk in Motihari. Picture by RN Sinha |
Faith has always taken the centre stage during Durga Puja. But the one at Balua Chowk is different.
Devotees in thousands have made serpentine queues to catch a glimpse of the idol, which could not be lifted in spite of endless efforts since Tuesday evening. Scientists are also groping in the dark for an explanation behind the peculiar situation.
The unexplained sequence of events has also led to prolonged Durga Puja at the site, around 160km north of Patna. According to local residents, police put pressure on the organisers to start the immersion process a day after Dashami as Bakrid was to be celebrated on Wednesday.
As there was a commotion whether the immersion process — considered as going away of Goddess Durga from her father’s home — should be held on Tuesday, an auspicious day for Hindus, several policemen tried to lift the idol forcibly.
The puja committee’s vice-chairperson, Diwakar Mani Tripathi, said: “The idol of the goddess could not be removed from its place even after hectic efforts by the posse of policemen. One of them, apparently quite aggressive, was mowed by a bull wandering near the pandal. He was later admitted to a hospital. However, idols of Lakshmi, Ganesh, Saraswati and Kartik were taken out for immersion.”
No sooner had the news spread than thousands of people from different places of East Champaran and neighbouring districts made a beeline to offer puja at the pandal since Tuesday evening.
On Thursday morning too, long queues were seen outside the pandal at the heart of the town that led to traffic snarl on the roads that link National Highway 28.
East Champaran superintendent of police Vinay Kumar said: “Besides, additional reinforcement near the site, I am constantly monitoring the situation all the while. I hope that the police will handle the present situation effectively and patiently.”
Recital of Durga Saptashati — usually chanted before and during the puja — has been started again at the pandal. One of the organisers said on Thursday morning that at least Rs 5 lakh has come as donation from devotees in the past couple of days.
The unusual turn of events has surprised not only the faithful but people with scientific orientation also.
SNS College physics professor Suresh Chandra Prasad said: “As a man of science, no doubt I have always tried to analyse events, which have been taking place in the nature but invariably many steps are encountered in the everyday life where science also fails. We are confused to attribute the reason behind such events.”
Heavy rain earlier this week had played spoilsport during the Dussehra celebrations. The believers think the goddess gave them an opportunity to offer puja at the pandal also.