A Case Study of Durgāpūjā Festival of the Bengali Hindus

Sumahan Bandyopadhyay*

A Case Study of Durgāpūjā Festival of the Bengali Hindus.

The worship of goddess Durgā or Durgāpūjā among the Bengalis presents and represents culture, commodity and identity and brings to the fore many more things or issues that have implications not only for a people but also for broader anthropological studies of people and culture linking global to the local. The worship  of the goddess is held four days in the Bengali month of Aswin.

The Durgāpūjā is considered as the annual festival of the Bengali people living mainly in the states of West Bengal and Tripura in India and Bangladesh with speakers numbering around 200 million. It is the largest popular public socio-religious event in Bengal. It has almost become a feature of
Bengali national culture to organize the Durgāpūja is an important event in diaspora. Though
predominantly originated in the Hindu ritual and legends, the Durgāpūjā celebration cross cuts
the communal divide in many of its attributes. It has been projected so in the public to be an
epitome of harmony across caste, class, creed and religion by constantly emphasizing its secular aspects.

Mary Douglas, in her introduction to the Rutledge edition of this book has also pointed to the totalizing character of such an event called total prestation. Now exactly this system may not be followed in most of the cases as the traditional jajmani obligations have gone, but the solidarity obligations are still working in different forms. The engagements of different castes and classes of people have still remained unchanged in ritual.

Anthropol Open J. 2017; 2(1): 15-22. doi: 10.17140/ANTPOJ-2-108