Piku Mukherjee, Kolkata: Though cloudy sky and drizzle tried to mar Kalipuja cum Diwali’s festivity, Burima fireworks lighten Amavasya’s darkness. Chanting of hymns and a plethora of glimmering fireworks, the state of West Bengal prayed Goddess Kali on Thursday with pomp and religious fervor.
Tens of thousands of devotees visited Kalighat, Dakhineswar and various temples of Bengal since morning to offer prayers for the goddess on very auspicious day. But why we mentioned Burima’s fireworks? There is Shivkashi also. So, who was this Burima? What was her identity?
We see the picture of an elderly woman stares at us as we pick up the box of sparklers. Anyone who has burnt crackers during Kali Puja and Diwali is likely to be familiar with the trademark image of Burima Fireworks. It’s Howrah’s own homegrown brand.
A house on Peyari Mohan Mukherjee Road in Belur, where Burima aka Annapurna Das lived and worked. From everlasting favorites such as sparklers, rockets, firepots (tubri) and firewheels (charki) to newer variants, all were flying off the shelves as night setting in. Now Suman Das, Burima’s grandson and present director of Burima Fireworks took the legacy.
Traders from Howrah, Hooghly, North and South 24-Parganas, East & West Midnapore and Calcutta throng the courtyard of the workshop at Belur to buy fireworks in bulk.
But the journey of Burima was not very smooth. The widow had forced to flee her village of Faridpur in 1947, during post-Partition exodus. She landed at a refugee camp in Gangarampur of present South Dinajpur with her six-year-old son and infant daughter. It is there that she learnt to manufacture bidis and started her own business. On the year of 1952 Burima shifted at Belur. Determined to do something independently. Settling there, Burima had learnt how to make crackers from an artisan. After that she took her new venture and never looked back. Decade passes and Burima’s chocolate bombs gather fame with own quality.
Presently we all depend on those fireworks. A huge array of crackers like sparklers, firepots, rockets, fireballons, firewheels spread cheer among revellers as they burst into colourful sprinkles against the night sky. Burima’s fireworks are still in demand, especially because of cheaper price. Brand Burima was famous for chocolate bombs, but now they have also made colourful fireworks.
Though the threat of rain try to fade the flare of firecrackers, Bengal sky will glitter with flush of festivity.