Barowari Durga Puja
Barowari refers to the public organization of a religious entity, mainly in West Bengal, India. Barowari has significance associated with the Durga Puja festival. The word “Barowari” comes from the Bengali words “baro”, which means 12, and “yari”, meaning a friendly connection.
The twentieth century witnessed the emergence of community Durga Puja which was also at times organized publicly. The first Barowari Durga Puja was organized in Kolkata by Bhowanipore Sanatan Dharmotsahini Sabha in 1909 at Balaram Bose Ghat Road, Bhowanipore. On this occasion, Sri Aurobindo published the famous Durga Stotra in his Bengali journal, Dharma, issue one “Kartika” dated 1316 AD.
J.C. Nixon, in his “Account of the Revolutionary organizations in Bengal”, noted: “Bhowanipore Party: owing to his striking personality, Jatindra Nath Mukharji was during this period gaining great popularity and esteem in anarchic circles. There is evidence for believing that the murderer of Babu Ashutosh Biswas, Public Prosecutor, on 10 February 1909, was a member of this party, while there is no doubt that Jatin Mukharji himself was one of the instigators of the murder of Khan Bahadur Shamsul Alam which took place on 21 February 1910.”
Other Barowari Durga Puja that followed were the College Street Tamer Lane Sarbojanin Durga Utsav of 1915, Shyampukur Adi Sarbojanin of 1911, Sikdar Bagan (in the Shyambazar neighbourhood) of 1913, Nebubagan, which in 1919 became Bagbazar sarbojanin, Simla Byam Samiti of 1926 and Amherst Street Lohapatty Sarbojanin of 1943, which later became Maniktala Chaltabagan Lohapatty Durga Puja.
Presently, the Barowari Durga Pujas are celebrated in over 2,000 pandals in Kolkata