Bhanrkata (Birbhum), Nov. 3: The minority community will celebrate a century-old Kali Puja tomorrow at this village under Mohammadpur police station.
Muslims not only partake in the Hindu festival but actually make the arrangements and supervise the ceremony — the only Kali puja in the entire village — over the years.
“The puja was inspired by a dream Karim Sheikh had a century ago. The next morning, he discovered a Kali idol in his granary,” said Bijay Konai, a village elder. “But Karim, being a Muslim, could not possibly carry out the rituals of a puja himself. He requested the village kabiraj (physician), Dulu Debangsi, to take over the responsibility. Debangsi endowed an agricultural plot in the name of the Goddess.
Money earned from selling the paddy of this land has been spent since then for the puja. It is now a village festival, the caste and creed of the devotees are irrelevant,” added Konai.
Bhanrkata, where this unique event has been on for years amidst stories of communal hatred from across the country, is 6 km from the Panagarh-Morgram highway.
Muslims constitute about 75 per cent of the population in the village of 8,000 where most are farmers, some into the stone chips business and the educated few employed in the local school.
Muslim artisans have been making the Kali idol for three generations. Dulal Sheikh of Madian village in the Mollarpur panchayat area, 8 km from Bhanrkata, has made it this year.
Here, the Goddess puts her left foot forward and hence named Bama Kali.
Sahin, a 10-year-old lad, is visibly enthused about the festival. “The puja will begin once the drums work up a deafening roll and I will be in the fare,” he said.