Durga Puja begins today | The Daily Star
11:00 PM, September 23, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:00 PM, September 23, 2009

Durga Puja begins today

Durga Puja, the biggest religious annual festival of the Hindu community, begins today across the country with due solemnity and great devotion to the deity.
It is a festival in which devotees worship the Hindu goddess of power, Durga or Shakti.
President Zillur Rahman, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition Leader Begum Khaleda Zia in separate messages greeted the members of the Hindu community on the occasion.
"Bangladesh is a bright example of communal harmony," the president said.
"We all have to keep our efforts in building a nation upholding the tradition and continuation of this harmony," he added.
Hasina said, "The government is pledged-bound to uphold the spirit and values of the War of Liberation. We are aware of our constitutional obligation to protect rights of people of all religions."
In her message, Begum Zia wished peace, prosperity and welfare of the Hindu community as well as success of the Durga festival.
The origin of public celebrations of grand Durga Puja, also known as Durgotsab, can be traced back to the 15th century.
With the ascent of the Moguls, Durga Puja became more of a status symbol those days.
Grand celebrations, gala feasts and huge fanfare were part of the very first 'Sharadiya Durgotsab' festivals.
As a festival, Durga Puja was first organised by Raja Kangshanarayan of Taherpur in Rajshahi in the month of Aswin in the Bengali year 887 and then by Bhabananda Mazumdar of Nadiya in 1606.
According to the Hindu mythology, goddess Durga appeared in the midst of the commoners following the prayer of King Kansa.
Marking the occasion, the first Durga worship was held at Taherpur king's palace.
Ram, elder son of King Dasharat, had earlier offered the puja at a different time to seek blessings from the deity to save people from the "repression and misrule" of Lanka Raj Ravon.
With her boon, Ram destroyed the kingdom of Ravon and "annihilated the tyrant monarch."
Puja is taking place in 21,927 mandops across the country, including 178 in the capital. A total of 21,917 puja mandops were set up in the country last year.
Dhaka Metropolitan Police has already taken special security measures for the city dwellers on the eve of Durga Puja, like Eid-ul Fitr.
Official sources said additional police and Ansar will be deployed at puja mandaps in the capital from today and will continue until Bijaya Dashami.
A contingent of 30 law-enforces, including nine Ansar personnel, will be posted at each vulnerable puja mandap, 16, including five Ansars, at each less-vulnerable mandap while 11, including five Ansars, will be on guard at each normal mandap.
Additional 1,556 police and 1,048 Ansar personnel will be deployed at the puja mandaps with adequate security equipment, sources added.

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