Dr Suprotim Basu has been in London for many years. Every year during durga pujo, Basu used get homesick. He attended durga pujas organised by NRI Bengalis but still missed the true “banglar” durga pujo.
That’s when Basu decided to start Durga Pujo celebrations at home. His “Barir Durga Puja” in London is probably the only such puja in UK, if not Europe, which happens in a house. Not in any hall or club.
It’s also the only puja where a professional Bengali purohit comes all the way from Kolkata to perform rituals. The idol to is made in Kumortuli and “Ma Durga” travels all the way to London from Kolkata.
Speaking to News18, Basu said, “So in UK, we have got many Durga pujas, but no concept of Barir Durga puja due to various reason…. mainly cost, man power.”
The puja is done by local priests, who are not professional priest but professionally established people in various fields and during Durga puja. They do it as they are Brahmin by reading books.
“So when I first came in to UK, I started to miss proper puja which is very close to my heart. Puja normally happens in Church hall or sports hall. But not in any individual’s house. In 2020, I felt this year it will be difficult to go out in Covid as no puja is happening elsewhere so why not I use this oppurtunity and do it at home…,” said Basu.
He started the preparation of ordering pratima from Kolkata (ekchala r thakur). It reached by ship after 5 months.
Due to Covid restrictions, we couldn’t invite any guests but started at the puja home in my conservatory glass room facing garden. The pujo pandal is organised in his house garden.
Soon, Basu’s pujo started getting attention of other NRI Bengalis too.
Every ritual of this pujo is followed meticulously and Basu says bhog prasad is made as well. Basu family’s barir durga pujo is a hit amongst Bengalis as they celebrate pujo for four days here. Everything from Anjali to dhunuchi dance is now in London.
Basu’s neighbour said, “From Shashti to sindur khela bisarjan is here, now it’s home away from home.”