Thousands of people from different social spheres thronged at the ground of Jagannath Hall to greet Saraswati, a goddess of power, creativity and inspiration. -Jahidul Islam
Saraswati Puja, worship of Hindu goddess of wisdom, was celebrated yesterday at the Jagannath Hall premises of Dhaka University (DU) amid much enthusiasm, festivity and religious fervor. Albeit, it regards as a focal religious festival of the Hindu community but thousand people from different social spheres regardless creed, caste and sex thronged at the ground of Jagannath Hall to greet the Saraswati, a goddess of power, creativity and inspiration.
The celebration began at 8:00am with the offering of "anjali", which was followed by "hatekhori" (initiation to learning) and distribution of prashad. It also included offering of Devi Aradhona, puspoanjolI and cultural functions.
Saraswati, a mythological companion of Lord Brahma, is the personification of knowledge, arts, science and crafts. According to the Hindu faith, she represents power, creativity and inspiration. Traditionally, children are introduced to education and learning on the day of Saraswati Puja. This ritual is called "Hatekhori". Toddlers are usually given a slate and chalk to scribble with.
As Saraswati is considered as the Goddess of wisdom and knowledge, Hindu devotees, especially students, celebrate the Puja in different educational institutions and temples. Students from different departments and institutes of DU arranged 67 puja Mandaps on the playground of the dorms. Each department showed its own characteristics through their pandals and idols by using different metaphoric themes and ideas.
Apart from this, banding floral tiaras on head, a group of girls was seen to roam the different 'Puja Mandaps' and take photograph with near and dear ones. Students from different dormitories gathered the ground since morning to hangout the entire day wearing new dresses. Around 11:00 am, Education Minister Dr. Dipu Moni visited the place accompanied by DU vice chancellor (VC) Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman, Pro-VC Prof Mohammad Samad, Proctor Golam Rabbany and Jagganath hall provost Prof Ashim Kumar Sarkar.
While visiting the venue, the minister called upon all to retain the atmosphere of non-communalism and democracy saying 'religion for particular, festival for everyone'. She also said that evil forces are trying to push the poison-gas of communalism into people's mind in effort of marrying the development of incumbent government. She asked university's students to gain knowledge to remove the darkness of current society.
Hindu devotees gathered around the pond to worship the goddess of Wisdom. Puja mandaps, temples and a large number of educational institutions were colorfully decorated as thousands of devotees sought blessings since morning from the goddess with traditional gaiety. The Puja is celebrated every year on the fifth day of the 'bright fortnight' of the month of Magh, as Goddess Saraswati was born on this day. The day is called 'Vasant Panchami'.
---Mohiuddin Mahi, AA
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