Bilete Bangali Sarodutsob (Durgapuja) was born with the overarching thought to encourage people in various parts of Europe, UK and America to make it a celebration of excellence in every year.
But due to the spread of COVID 19, many organizers had decided to postpone the utsav this year in most places in UK. In this crisis, our Bilete Bangali Facebook group has come forward to continue this occasion in a smaller way.
The virtual Durga Puja commenced from 22nd October 2020 with renowned sculptor, Ramesh Pal’s Devi Durga that came all the way from Kolkata.
On 17th September Bilete Bangali team arranged its first delightful virtual Mahalaya Cultural Programme. It is appreciated that Mr Kingsuk Bose and his wife Dr Lopamudra Nag Chaudhuri, with the support of some of our members, had put in an enormous effort to continue this puja in the garden of their residence. After procuring the council’s permission a small ‘pandal’ has been constructed maintaining all precautionary measures against Covid 19.
The IT team along with the core pujo committee members joined hands to make it possible. Social Distancing, sanitizing and allowing only 3 people at a time were the main considerations of the event. They started on a modest scale with decent decoration, cleanliness, safety along with short cultural programmes that were broadcast virtually on Facebook.
Arrangements were made for viewing live footage of the puja via various media sources throughout Europe, USA and UK. The virtual platform was made for the devotees for performing rituals such as “Anjali, Worshipping Maa Durga”. Our founder’s wife Lopamudra managed to arrange all puja-related materials during her visit to India. A distinct puja calendar stating various activities and events have been prepared.
There were separate event co-coordinators for every event whose primary task was to arrange and co-ordinate all individual performances along with the IT team under separate event categories. The IT team also mailed the community members for seeking the names of individuals who were interested for virtual Anjali on Saptami, Ashtami or Nabami.
An eminent artist from Bengal, Mr Rajatava Dutta inaugurated this virtual puja of Bilete Bangali as a special guest. Our priest for the entire pujo was Dr Panchajanya Ghatak, one of our moderators who performed the puja following all traditional rules and regulations.
A global ceremony was performed by arranging sandhipuja with with 108 lotus flowers , 108 diyas , prasads and ever scumptuous bhog. Unfortunately, a terrible storm graced the fateful day the puja would be held , threatening to carry away the pandal itself! The epitome of many people’s hopes and effort in its rage. Despite facing such relentless and ceaseless storms the pandal stood, indefatigable in the face of such adversity, successfully holding up people’s hopes.
BIBA also arranged an exclusive Bijoya Baithak by inviting different members of pujo committees in the UK to share Durga Puja experiences in Kolkata, India and abroad.
This puja only served to prove that despite such adverse conditions , a storm , a worldwide pandemic that banned all but little to no human contact and many more disasters to come , Bangalis broke through expectations, fought through challenges and joined hands in spite of a multitude of differences all to make the dream of a perfect puja a reality in these adverse times; persevering to spread the light and divinity of Maa Durga to all that needed help and a ray of hope in their lives.