Kolkata: The worship of divine deity Kali started getting popular in Bengal only in the 18th century. It took about a century more for it to turn an annual event, next only to Durga Puja in grandeur. It was in 1792 Pran Krishna Mitra started the Kali puja at at the Darjipara Mitra Bari of North Kolkata. Being a teenage boy he made a mistake in the Kali idol. But, perhaps this mistake turned to be boon for the Mitra’s and apparently bought back the fortune in the family which was lost in the British era.
The palatial building of Mitras came into existence during the times of Durgacharan Mitra who had several business including being court jeweller of Nawab Siraj -ud -Daulah. His Nephew Nilmani Mitra continued the legacy. Later the family’s condition declined. but Nilmani Mitra’s grandson Radhakrishna bought back fortune in the family.
Well according to Book of Genesis and Christian mythology the mistake that Adam and Eve committed by consuming the forbidden fruit made them the ancestral sinners. But here the story is completely the oppugnant. It is said by great people that only true devotion matters, no matters where and from what condition you worship God but if you worship God with pure dedication you’ll be blessed by him.Although, there was an error in the structure of Kali Maa idol.
Generally, Dakshinakali is typically shown with her right foot on Shiva’s chest—while depictions showing Kali with her left foot on Shiva’s chest depict the even more fearsome Vamakali (Vamakali is typically shown with her left foot on Shiva’s chest). Vamakali is usually worshiped by non-householders. But not knowing anything about the facts the idol made by Pran Krishna Mitra has the left leg over shiva.But this didn’t put any negative impact on the family rather bought back the fortune in the Mitra family. The family who had spent days and nights without eating anything now have a big family business. Hence, this unique Kali idol is the significant one now.
Anusua Mitra, one of the members of the family said, “Nilmani Mitra was an arbitrator during the British era. The Britons asked him to solve a case where his acquaintances were involved. Nilmani Mitra did not want to argue among his acquaintances. With the British pressing him, he left all his property and went to Banaras ( now Varanasi). The British Government acquired all his property then. His daughter-in-law returned her children to Kolkata. And took the shelter of Durga Charan Mitra at the smae Mirta house. In 1792, the eldest grandson of Nilmani Mitra, Pranakrishna made the Dakshina Kali idol having the left foot over Shiva instead of right foot and started the Puja. Although it is the idol of Vamakali but we worship it as Dakshinakali.”
Later, it became one of the renowned Kali puja of North Kolkata. The daughter of famous businessman of North Kolkata Ramdulal Sarkar was married to Pran Krishna’s elder brother Radhakrishna Mitra.Radha Krishna owned lot of property after marrying Ramdulal Sarkar’s daughter. Gradually, they started their own business. Furtune returned back to them. Thus they became owner of huge property. Along with Kali puja, the Durga puja of this Darjipara Mirta bari was started in 1806 and it gradually gained fame worldwide. Since then the blessing of the divine deity Kali showered on every member of the family.
Here the divine mother is not only the embodiment of power and destruction.But also benevolent mother, who protects her devotees and children from mishaps and misfortunes She is a ‘Chinmayi’ for the Mitra family as the merciful Goddess has returned the family to life.On the day of Kali puja, the devotees offer 108 Blue Aparajita (Asian pigeonwings) flowers to the divine deity instead of Laal Jaba (Red Hibiscus). Among other variations, butter is offered to the Goddess. However, there is no customary sacrifice in the family followin the custom started by Pran Krishna Mitra.
Currently the family of Radha Krishna Mitra’s successor Manabendra Krishna organise this Puja. His three sons didin’t have any sons. So the daughters are taking the legacy forward.
Reported By: Souptik Banerjee
Edited By: Mousumi Das