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Dhoradaha's Chaudhuri Family Discontinue Tradition Of Animal Sacrifice

2016-10-11 21:40

The Durga temple of Dhoradaha Chaudhuri family

NfN NETWORK

Karimpur, Oct. 11: The usual scene of gory sacrifice of animals could no more be scene at the court yard of Chaudhuri family of Dhoradaha village in Nadia’s Karimpur during the Durga Puja. The 452 years old Durga Puja of the family, which was once famous for huge numbers of animal sacrifices before the Goddess Durga, known as “chotoma”, has been discontinued. 45 years ago, former family head Hitendra Nath Chaudhuri stopped the tradition of sacrifice, realizing that a puja which is arranged wishing well being of people cannot be sanctified by killing innocent lives.  
Nevertheless, the local villagers urge family members to bring back the tradition as they feel that the “Chotoma” will be satisfied with the sacrifice and fulfill their wishes. 
This year too there is no exception as the present family members have humbly turned down many such requests of the villagers. 
The ‘haari-kath’ still bears the signs of blood shades at a corner of the courtyard amidst the festive splendor, but it is no more used. 
Present family head Himendra Nath Chaudhuri (70), a retired school teacher said: “It was my father Hitendra Nath Chaudhuri discontinued the 400 year old tradition during 1971, because he did not want to continue killing of innocent animals to appease the God in the name of sacrifice. I too believe so and would never resume it”. 
“This year to people requested to allow sacrifice, but I humbly discourgaged them”, Himendranath said. 
“As a child I used to feel gloomy after watching the sacrifices for three days. The gory scene of blood used to haunt me. I was very happy when my father decided to stop it.” he added. 
According to family records, Himendranath’s forefather Durgaram Chaudhuri, who was a zamindar in Dhoradaha started Durga puja during the rule of Taz Khan Karrani (1564-66) of the Tararani dynasty during 1564. 
“The puja became soon very popular as he made the festival open to his subjects. It was not just our family affair, locals were largely involved too. The deity “Chotoma” became very popular. Gangaram introduced sacrifice. From Saptami to Nabami, animals like goat and buffalos were sacrificed. Soon the villagers started pouring in with animals to sacrifice, which Gangaram allowed. This eventually became a tradition as every year during Durga puja large numbers of animals were sacrificed. This continued over the centuries until 1971 – when my father Hitendranath Chaudhuri stopped the slaughter of the animal”, said Himendranath. 
Himendranath thinks that an incident that occurred during 1970 that also led his father to stop the tradition of ‘holy slaughter’.
“On the day of Ashtami, a little girl of about ten years old cried out in panic witnessing blood of the slaughtered animal. She was so horrified that none could comfort her. On the same night, my father had a dream when he was instructed by “Chotoma” to stop the sacrifice of the animal. Next year before the puja preparation, he announced permanent end to it”, added Himendranath, a former teacher of Brajasundari Smriti Bhawan Vidyapith. 
Except this change, the Chaudhuri family has been maintaining all the traditions and rituals of the Durga puja since then. This year ‘thakur dalan’ has been renovated with new patches of color, the court yard has been decorated, over one hundred family members and relatives have assembled in Dhoradaha to celebrate the festival. But, there is no movement could be visible around the hari kath. 
Now Himendranath has grown old and could not personally look after the puja arrangement, nevertheless, he instructs his sons to ensure that no animal is sacrificed before the Goddess. 
Himendranath’s elder son Arghya Chaudhuri, a primary school teacher now plays the key role in arranging the Durga puja. 
“From the childhood I have learnt that this puja is held wishing the well being of all. The objective is Sarve Bhavatu Sukhinah/Sarve Santu Niramayaah, which means may all become happy and may all become free from illness. This ‘all’ include not just our family members or the locals, rather everything under the sun. The puja is held for well being of all, not to kill anyone”, Arghya Chaudhuri said. 
“It however, took, years to make the villagers understand as they think that they would be denied of mother’s blessing unless animal is sacrificed. Sometimes educated people come with request to allow animal sacrifice. I even told such people to read Rabindra Nath Tagore’s play “Raja” which speaks against animal sacrifice”, he added further.  

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