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 Volume 3 | Issue 08 | February 27, 2011 |


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NSU Celebrates Saraswati Puja 2011

Tamoha Binte Siddiqui

The festivities were carried out with great pomp and grandeur, courtesy: Tanmoy Saha Turja

For the first time in the history of the institution, North South University (NSU) celebrated Saraswati Puja on February 8, 2011, in the Plaza of the university campus in Bashundhara. The Goddess Saraswati is revered as the goddess of knowledge, music, and the arts, and hence it only follows logically that an educational institute such as NSU, whose motto is to 'seek knowledge', will pay its highest respects to this deity. The Puja Committee that organised the programme went all the way to make this puja a grand success. The festivities were carried out with great pomp and grandeur. The programme included two main sessions - the morning session celebrating a colourful Puja, and the afternoon session that consisted of an enlightening seminar and a much-awaited cultural programme.

courtesy: Tanmoy Saha Turja

The festivities started early in the morning. The air was thick with excitement and anticipation. The majestic idol of the Goddess Saraswati looked over the students of NSU with a serene smile on her face and a beena in her hands. The luminous diyas and rangolis added to create an atmosphere of festivity. The programme started with the lighting of the mangal deep by the members of the Board of Governors, NSU Foundation - Mr. M.A. Kashem, Mrs. Rehana Rahman, Mrs. Yasmin Kamal, and the Treasurer of North South University - Dr. Abdus Sattar. After they gave their respective opening speeches, the puja began with the recitation of mantras by the panditji. The echoes of the mantras, the spiraling dhoop from the dhunuchi, the intermittent dhol beats, the blowing of the shankh, the tinkling of bells and the occasional bursts of “Saraswati maa kiJoy!” from the worshippers created a surreal atmosphere which indeed called for a spiritual awakening regardless of caste or religion. Next, it was time for the worshippers to offer anjali to the Goddess and take blessings from the panditji. After all the rituals were complete, it was time for everyone to receive delicious prasads of various kinds. Then commenced the dhunichi naach and the dhaak nritto in which all the students participated with delight, and which continued late into the day.

The festivities were carried out with great pomp and grandeur, courtesy: Tanmoy Saha Turja

In the afternoon, the seminar began with a speech from the key speaker, Professor Niranjan Adhikari, Dhaka University. Next, Dr. Hafiz G.A. Siddiqui, Vice Chancellor, North South University, and also the special guest for the event, presented his speech. This was followed by an address by the Chief Guest, Advocate Abdul Mannan Khan, State Minister, Ministry of Housing and Public Works. After the seminar, it was time for the long-awaited cultural programme to begin. Celebrity artists and students from NSU performed. Some of the highlights of the show were a performance by the popular singer Topu, a dance routine by the well-known Kaththak dancer Kochi Rahman, and a performance by NSU's own fame-studded band, Old School.

VC, DR. Hafiz G. A Siddiqui visits the mandap,
Courtesy: Tanmoy Saha Turja

The daylong festivity was a testament to the religious tolerance and co-operation of NSU students and its authority. It was a day in which both Hindus and Muslims came together to celebrate the pursuit of knowledge in the form of Goddess Saraswati. Perhaps one of the guardians attending the Puja said it the best, “When the panditji asked during the Puja to say my name and gatra, the only gatra I could think of is 'Bangali'”. This puja served not only to celebrate the Hindu community of NSU, but also to bring together students of other religions under the shade of the unifying umbrella of being a Bangali.

(The writer is a student of English at North South University.)

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