Bombay Durga Bari Samiti is an 86-year-old social and cultural organisation conceptualised in 1930. The Samiti owes its eminence to scores of dedicated individuals who have consistently worked at making it a premier, non-sectarian, cultural and charitable organisation in Mumbai. Durga puja was organised and celebrated by the Samiti in various places till it moved to Tejpal Hall in 1971, and has been held there ever since.
The primary objective of the Samiti was to bring all Bengalis together and give them a medium to imbibe Bengali culture outside of Kolkata. The Samiti was subsequently expanded to include Mumbaikars of all castes, creed, communities and religions to promote national integration.
“Bombay Durga Bari Samiti takes distinct pride in organising puja in an all encompassing homely atmosphere, bringing a distinctive flavour to the festivities. It is what sets us apart,” says Jayanta Basu, president of Bombay Durga Bari Samiti.
Given that Durga puja is one of the biggest platforms for traditional art and culture worldwide, the Samiti endeavours to have diverse socio-cultural festivities which are steeped in rich and authentic Bengali culture, across Mahalaya, Shashti, Maha Saptami, Maha Ashtami, Maha Nabami and Dashami, which appeal to all generations.
Durga Bari has always followed traditional ‘protimas’ (idols) and it continues to do so.
Ma Durga will be resplendent as a ‘Jomindarbarir Ginni’, in a ‘Gorod’ sari – the time-honoured, classic white silk sari distinguished by its red border, ‘sankha pala’ – a pair of red bangles and a pair of white traditional Bengali bangles and beautiful antique Bengali ornaments. Keeping with tradition, the lion of Maa Durga will be white like in ancient days.
Susmita Mitra, chairperson of social and cultural committee of Bombay Durga Bari Samiti, elaborates: “Our focus is authentic customs and traditions throughout. Maa’s puja is done in the proper way, there is no room for compromise. Then we move on to the rest of the festivities. The devotion, the atmosphere are like what one would have at home, even if it is a puja open to the public.”
Artisans from Kolkata will congregate at Tejpal Hall to demonstrate live arts and crafts. Traditional jewellery will also be on display.
Maha Shashti will commence with song and dance. On Maha Saptami, members of the Samiti will regale the audience with a bouquet of evergreen lyrical compositions. This year, ‘Bonhi Patongo’ – a gripping detective mystery – a play directed by Dr Madhuchanda Mukhopadhyay and Dr Sumita Ghosh will be staged. On Maha Ashtami/Navami, there will be Dhunuchi Naach.
“Make your way to Tejpal Hall this year to seek the blessings of Durga maa, offer Puspanjali, indulge your taste buds with Nolan Gurer ice cream, feast on authentic khichoori and Payesh for bhog and immerse yourself in true Bengali culture in the evenings,” signs off Jayanta Basu.