At Miriti, a small village at Kirnahar in Bengal’s Birbhum district, Durga Puja on the Mukherjee household’s ancestral dwelling was by no means full with out a priest whose go to each October lighted up the festivities and a whole bunch of faces.
A religious Hindu, Pranab Mukherjee by no means missed his priest’s function besides solely in 2015, when his spouse, Suvra, handed away just some days earlier than the annual pageant. Though different monks carried out the routine rituals, it was Mukherjee’s job to chant scriptures from the 13 chapters of Chandi. The puja was began by Mukherjee’s ancestor Jangaleswar Mukherjee 126 years in the past.
To the villagers, who gathered in mourning on Monday night, Mukherjee was all the time Poltu, the nickname his mother and father gave him. His elder sister Annapurna Devi, the one member of the household who lived in the home, died in January this yr.
“We misplaced our guardian as Bengal misplaced an excellent son. An period has ended and this void will stay perpetually,” stated Rabi Chattaraj, 71, the previous Congress chief’s follower in politics and a resident of Miriti. The village is situated round 230 km to the South-West of Kolkata.
“I grew to become his disciple ever since I joined the Youth Congress as a younger man. Dada was affectionate to me. Final yr, when he got here to attend the puja, he requested me to take care of the company and be sure that everybody will get the prasad,” Chattaraj instructed HT as his voice choked.
“The puja at Dada’s dwelling has all the time been devoid of any sort of luxurious regardless of his stature. 1000’s of individuals, together with VIPs, have attended the puja. Dada used to request everyone to not depart with out taking the prasad,” stated Chattaraj.
Throughout his keep within the village, Mukherjee used to spend time with household and previous associates, a few of whom went to the Shib Chandra Excessive Faculty at Kirnahar which is extra generally known as ‘Pranab’s college.’