In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Once Upon a Time.”
Listen my little kitties, listen to your granny..It was a sunny, yes, very sunny winter day..I might be old today, but the day, I still can remember it. It was the day of January, 25, 2015. The date of today. No, no, don’t think I am making up the date..It really was 25 January, your granny’s not that old yet!
It was the day of “Saraswati puja“. Nowdays, you just don’t bother about old religious programs, but once they were great festivals. People from all religions, muslims, hindus, buddhists, christians, all gathered in the puja field..Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, with her four hands (mind, sense; intellect, reasoning; imagination, creativity; self consciousness, ego), her book of knowledge, her crystal garland of inner reflection, her water of purity and her musical instrument of all creative arts and sciences; called all her pupils… And above all, mother’s SWAN, not a normal one, her beautiful, enormous, snow-white swan..You know, why swan is her vehicle? because, you give her swan mixture of water and milk, it would able to drink the milk alone…Knowledge is not only learning, but the ability to differ good and bad!
Goddess Saraswati statue by Deparment of fine arts, Dhaka University photo courtesy: http://news.priyo.com/photo/2011/feb/09/19373.html, https://www.flickr.com/photos/arrajib/8557738043/?rb=1
I know, what you are thinking bunnies, that, I am a muslim, pray five times a day, don’t believe in Gods and Goddesses, wouldn’t take a mark of sindur or chandan on my forhead, then what was my relation with the veneration, isn’t it? Yes, you are right. On that day, people also asked that. But it was our country of harmony, that’s a rare word today.
Our University of Dhaka organized a big big big festival that day, actually for many years. All the departments, from science faculty, arts, business studies..54 departments established saraswati statue, in their own way, reflecting the theme of their department..You know, there was a statue from Islamic Studies department as well! Huh, what harmonious days they were!
But if the day was that easy, may be I wouldn’t tell you this story. The huge monsters of politics swallowed the whole country..No security, nothing, anytime you might be burnt in the petrol bomb! Boom! and you would be a lump of flesh! But dear, should we let the evil win! No, we couldn’t! We decided to visit mother saraswati, might we didn’t believe her, but we believed the power of knowledge, good and bad!
After office, I came out, whole monthly salary in handbag, lots of cash in a day of chaos outside. No, I didn’t have a horse, a white one as you see in fairy tales, but I made myself entered in a crowded bus..Our university was not far, but there was a fear everywhere. Anytime you might be hurt by thugs, anytime the whole bus could turn into ashes..Yes, it was 2015, but our politics might be from stone ages! (Nah, stone age was far more humane!). Each stoppage passed, a fear for next stoppage grabbed our throat.. I was alone that day, but you know, not really..My friend was coming to the puja from a long distant district, another side of the country, only to meet all!
We, the warriors arrived..Loudspeakers, as bugles, welcome us! many other friends, seniors, juniors..We took photos, we ate foods of veneration, yes, we are muslims, but we had a wonderful thought that time. Hindu friends ate as blessings, we ate as foods! We didn’t venerate the statues, but all shared the beauty of it in hearts.
In this world of religious fights, atheism-religion fights, there was a land of fairy tale. Extremists wanted to separate us, but we didn’t separate ourselves! In the year of 2015, we won! My little children, never let this harmony drowned, let mother saraswati’s swan swim…swim across the ocean of unjust, to give us knowledge of right and wrong!
More pictures of Dhaka University, Jagannath Hall Puja, 2014, (as 2015 pictures are not published yet), http://www.somewhereinblog.net/blog/sanjoymukharjeedumb/29923031