“Saraswati Puja” (adoration of the Hindu goddess), one of the main religious festivals in the calendar of the Hindu community, was celebrated throughout Bangladesh on 30 January with due solemnity and great enthusiasm and zeal. As in the past, it took on a look of festive ceremony cutting across the religious and gender divides in Bangladesh.
This puja is routinely celebrated every year on the fifth day of the spring during the bright fortnight of the month of Magh when the goddess of music, art, wisdom and learning. “Saraswari” was believed to have been born according to the Hindu sacred scripture Rigveda. The day is called ‘Vasant Panchami’.
Hindu devotees, especially students, organised the ‘puja’ at different educational institutions and temples across the country. In the capital, ‘Saraswati Puja’ was staged at different important places, leading educational, professional institutions and religious sanctuaries. Home Minster Asaduzzaman Khan visited puja mandaps at Rajdhani High School in Manik Mia Avenue in the capital.
One of the most decorative and gorgeous celebrations of Saraswati Puja took place in the premises of the Jagannath Hall where a large number of devotees and crowd thronged to perform the religious rituals who later visited the pandals circling the playground of the university’s dormitory. On Dhaka University campus, the puja was organised at all female dormitories -- Rokeya Hall, Samsun Nahar Hall, Bangladesh Kuwait Moitri Hall, Begum Fazilatunnesa Mujib Hall and Kabi Sufia Kamal Hall. The Jahangirnagar University Central Puja Udjapan Committee also performed Saraswati Puja on their campus. Likewise in the Rajshahi University, the puja was solemnised at different halls as well as in the city’s central temple. The pujas were also held at Ram Krishna Mission, Jagannath University, Siddheswari Temple, Supreme Court premises, Farashganj, Shakhari Bazar, Tanti Bazar and different other places in both old and new Dhaka city and around. A total of 22 puja mandaps were decorated on different university campuses alone this year.
On January 18, the Bangladesh Election Commission decided to defer elections to both Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) from January 30 to February 1 as the elections coincided with Saraswati Puja.
As per the past practice ICAB (Institute of Chartered Accountants Bangladesh) Puja Udjapan Parishad observed Saraswati Puja-2020 on 30 January at its academic campus in Kawran Bazar, Dhaka, with deep reverence and much fanfare. The event was unveiled with prayer offered by devotees in the morning. At the evening session ICAB president Muhammad Farooq FCA, and president ICAB Puja Udjapan Committee and additional secretary, Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, GOB Ajit Kumar Paul FCA, inaugurated the souvenir titled ‘Mahasweta’ to mark the occasion. Present among other senior members of the profession were vice presidents ICAB Sidhartha Barua FCA and Mohammed Forkan Uddin FCA, councilors Gopal Chandra Gosh FCA and Maria Howlader FCA, past president Anil Chandra Nath, FCA, president, DRC Ziaur Rahman Zia FCA, UNB chairman and co-chairman, Editorial Board, ICAB Amanullah Khan FCA, secretary of the Puja Parishad Ramendra Nath Basak FCA, and secretary & CEO-ICAB Maj Gen. Muhammad Imrul Quayes, ndc, psc (retd).
In his address ICAB president expressed the hope that Saraswati Puja would proved to be instrumental in inspiring the students of the Institute to pursue their study and learning diligently to enable them to take up the future leadership of the profession. The programme was followed by a cultural show.
Home to about 10% Hindus and 1% other religions including 89% Muslims with a total population over 162 million, Bangladesh is a shinning example of cultural and ethnic diversity, inclusiveness and religious harmony in the region.