Thursday, September 12, 2013

100 years of Timarpur and Civil Lines Puja Samiti celebrating Durga Puja

Timarpur& Civil Lines Puja Samity ( TPCLPS ) was formally established in 1914 and since then Timarpur & Civil Lines Puja Samity has been celebrating Durga Puja year after year without any break. Statistically, it is the second oldest Durga Puja Samity in Delhi. The TPCLPS is a living example of glorious success achieved through the combined efforts of its countrywide well wishers.

Before the shifting of the capital of the British India to Delhi in 1911, many Bengalis had migrated to Delhi either due to shifting of their offices or to work in the Government offices. In this process, the first Durga Puja in Delhi was held in 1910, when it was performed by ritualistically establishing the “MANGAL GHAT” symbolizing Devi Durga.

Timarpur is situated in the northern part of Delhi – very close to the Delhi University North Campus. For the last many decades, the Puja celebrations have been held at its Puja premises in front of the Institute of Nuclear Medicines & Allied Sciences (INMAS) of DRDO.

During the last 99 years, on several occasions, the Puja Samity passed through hard phases of financial and administrative crises mainly due to lack of funds and active human resources. On several occasions conditions became so precarious that the puja was on the verge of a premature end. But on every such occasion, Devi Durga stood by the side of the volunteers and right help came at the right time. In fact, the puja not only survived but thrived! Someone or the other amongst the well wishers and volunteers of the Samititook charge of the situation with true grit and determination coupled with the co-operation and support from all well wishers. The consistent growth continued. All along these times, a number of Puja Samities were formed in and around Delhi; while some of them could not continue,many others got merged with others.

The fact remains that Timarpur & Civil Lines Puja Samity (TPCLPS) has been able to maintain its own identity amongst capital’s traditional pujas. Unlike many other so called big Puja Samities, the puja performed at TPCLPS has a heart and soul of its own. The puja at Timarpur is an occasion where everyone participates, Bengalis and Non-Bengalis, Residents of Timarpur & Civil Lines Area and Non-Residents, Seniors,  Juniors and so on. TPCLPS has based its entire celebration on the tradition and cultural heritage of India, especially Bengal. Here traditions & rituals are still being followed meticulously. Although the Samity has never tried to commercialize the Puja celebration in Timarpur, yet it has always adapted to the changing values, needs and styles with the passage of time. Modernization here has never trampled traditions!

Possibly, TPCLPS introduced the first Protima of Shola (a traditional style of decoration of the idol) in the community Puja celebration of Delhi many years ago. Immersion of Ma Durga is a sight to watch and remember. A unique tradition being followed down the decades on the day of Maha Dashami, from Timarpur Puja premises to 7 kms away Geeta Ghat , the Protima [idol] of Ma Durga is taken in illuminated carts and these carts are pulled by young volunteers and the general public and not paid workers.