Odia priests of Ganga ghats in Kolkata face problems, watch

Kolkata: A few ghats by the side of sacred Ganga River in Kolkata are regarded as prominent religious places as devotees get rituals done by Pundits here. Many Odia priests have been performing religious rituals for the devotees at these ghats reportedly from long years from the time of their forefathers. Some of them are said to be practising there when their forefathers had started the work about 200 years ago. These Odia pundits perform rituals like worship, shraddha and bone burying in the Ganges besides working as fortune teller. And by performing such works for the devotees they earn money to run the family.

Most of the Ganga Ghats have special camps for Odia pundits. However, in these days they are allegedly facing problem. They are now forced to leave these ghats of the Ganga and migrate elsewhere.

Chhotulal ghat is one of the most important Ganga ghats in Kolkata. In this ghat, about hundreds of orthodox Odia scholars have been performing worship since long years hereditarily.

However, Now Kolkata Port Trust wants to demolish this ghat and give it a new look. Hence, the worshiping orthodox Odia scholars are being forced to leave their places here. Even their place of worship has been planned to be demolished.

Earlier Kolkata Port Trust had given them vendor recognition and license. However, now that license is not being renewed. Instead, they are being forced to leave the ghats as soon as possible.  Hence, now the Odia pundits are spending sleepless nights thinking about losing their profession.

They are of the opinion that it is unfortunate to be asked to leave the ghat without giving importance to the displacement policy.

Designs for establishing modern parks and commercial centers have been planned, especially in the Chhotulal Ghat area. This will be undertaken to attract the tourists.

But why are they silent about the future of the Odia priests who have been living and working as priests here since the time of their forefathers.

Therefore, the demand of the Odia pundits working in the Ganga ghats of Kolkata has demanded that the government should focus on solving their problems otherwise they would lose their profession.

Another important thing is that in the Jagannath Ghat idols of Lord Jagannath, Blabhadra and Devi Sunbhadra have been established. Devotees take dip in the Ganges and then use to worship here. Also every morning and evening here a devotional atmosphere created here. The traditional worships are also performed here.

However the Odia priests who work here have lamented that not enough social security is being provided to them. Along with this, various kinds of adverse situations arising on them are also not resolved. Despite this, these orthodox Odia priests are working here as family tradition.

The Odia priests here not only worship in the Ganga ghats, but they also perform puja at different houses and shops on daily basis. Sometimes they need to walk long distance with bare feet to worship. Their commitment to duty is paramount. Therefore, even if they are facing various problems, they do not refrain from worshiping.

Reportedly, even before the time when the Howrah Bridge was built, these Odia pundits are worshipping there.

Especially on the banks of the Ganges there are some ghats where Chaitanya Dev himself came and bathed. Hence, these Ganga ghats are regarded as highly auspicious.

Another important ghat is  the Triveni ghat. Reportedly, this ghat had been set up by King Mukunda Dev of Odisha in the 20th century and brought the Odia priests and engaged them in the worship here.

River Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati confluence here. Since the time of Mukund Dev, the Odia worshipers have been involved in the worship and their children have also maintained this tradition. But now it seems they would lose their profession.

Rani Rasamani Ghat is another famous Ghats in the Ganga River bank in Kolkata, which was established in 1930. Queen Rasmani established this ghat and had it inaugurated by Ramakrishna Paramhansa. Later on, the Odia Brahmins were entrusted with the protection of the ghat and performing the puja. There, the odia priests are doing special rituals. In this situation the Odia priests who are performing puja etc. in the ghats on the Ganga River bank have urged government to look into their problem so that they can continue their hereditary profession there.

 

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