By DR REZWAN HUSSAIN
Lord Vishwakarma, the presiding deity of the Vishwakarma Puja is the divine architect and thus during the puja the lord is invoked by the craftsmen, engineers and architects. The crafts shops and factories are beautifully decorated. Statues or photographs of Lord Vishwakarma are normally installed and workers gather in one common place and perform the puja. After the puja initially fruits that are offered to the Lord are distributed as “Prasad” followed by the delicious Khichdi.
The above mentioned facts are well known and what was the necessity to write it down again? Well, so far it is not mentioned that this Puja is generally celebrated by the Hindus. But the craftsmen are not only Hindus but belong to different religions and castes. The beauty lies here. Amidst the fast propagating weeds of divisive forces there still exists crops of acquiescence.
Nazrul Islam has his automobile workshop (Garage) at Gossaibari, Bhetapara, Guwahati. He organises Vishwakrma Puja in his workshop. On receiving an invitation from him I visited his place with family. The ambience in his pandal was so friendly that I found only human beings and nobody belonging to any religion. A Sardarji was there but he did not look like a Sikh. One Christopher Tudu offered us sweet and cold drinks after receiving instruction from Islam.
Islam looked very happy in his new dress, a pair of new shoes, Jeans and a white shirt. I hardly remember having seen him so neatly dressed (as most of the times he remains covered with grease and dirt).
After the sweets, the most awaited dish arrived, the hot and yummy “Khichdi”. I do sincerely apologise here for not being able to explain the taste of the “Khichdi”. Few days back I came from home after tasting Mutton and biriyani during “Bakrid” and the vegetarian “Khichdi” tasted so delicious that I did not hesitate to ask for a bit more. Though I am overburdened with a big belly, I forget dieting in such cases.
Eyebrow raiser moment is the thought that a “Miya” celebrating Vishwakarma Puja. Similar “Miyas” are kicked when they shed their body sweat in puling rickshaw. After the journey when they ask for fare generally the first words that comes out is the “K….” followed by “Bangladeshi”
After the yummy “Khichdi” I had an interaction with Nazrul. He said that he has been celebrating the puja for several years. Initially some Muslim friends objected the celebration after which he doesn’t install the statue of Lord Vishwakarma but he decorates his shop and offers the puja delicacies to his customers and well-wishers.
Islam said “There are many garages (workshops) near mine. All of them celebrates, so do I. I am invited by many non-Muslim friends on several occasions. I thus find no wrong in being a part of their celebrations and it is related to my profession. Peaceful co-existence is a matter of choice. If you chose to hate others, you will find hundred reasons but to love you need not require any reason, just an open heart.”
I remain shocked to hear the views of a person who did not have high educational degrees. To me he appeared to be a highly educated person who studied the subject called “Life”
But the irony is, Islam is not “Assamese Speaking” Muslim or the so-called “Khilonjia”. Therefore he easily falls in the category of inhuman “Bangladeshi”. If accidentally a car is serviced in a wrong way, we tend to forget everything and start calling him names including the tag “Bangladeshi”.
The khichdi was hot and tasty but at the same time a thought causes a great pain — Why “Nazruls” are always asked to show their voter ID card to be treated as human beings?
(Dr. Rezwan Hussain, a PhD in Biotechnology from Gauhati University is Area Sales Manager in Merck Lifesciences Pvt Ltd., a German based MNC dealing with Scientific research chemicals and equipment. He is a founding member of MY-FACTS. The views expressed are his own).