For Wisdom and Knowledge
Devi Saraswati, the deity of knowledge and arts, and the symbol of truth and purity, depicted with a vina, the stringed instrument, in one hand and a book in the other, manifests the ancient wisdom and the pure divinity. There are a good deal of symbols that merge in with the depiction of the Devi- a vina representing the waves of melody, a book representing the elixir of wisdom, and a water-lily, symbolising purity and holiness. This year, the ritual of worshipping the deity took place on February 8.
Nowadays, Saraswati Puja has emerged as a fiery fiesta rather than a mere religious ritual in university campuses. Almost all the departments of Dhaka University observe the festival in the open fields of Jagannath Hall. Temples set up by the different departments bring out the unique traits of its students.
Protik Biswas, a student of Electrical and Electronics Engineering at UIU, says, “It is the creative ideas and architectural diversity in the temples designed and built by the students that attract me the most. I think the sculpture of the deity designed and made by the students of Fine Arts is a brilliant piece of art.”
The Department of Physics built its temple as a model of rocket that is ready to shoot into space. The departments of Geography and Environment depicted their Devi coming down a mountain while a model of double helical DNA was placed in a temple that was built by the Department of Life Science.
The Department of Fine Arts placed the colossal sculpture of the deity in the middle of the pond in Jagannath Hall. Students of BUET designed the temple as a model of the vina that Devi Saraswati holds in her hands. Rhythmic chanting of mantras, floor paintings and colorful embellishments everywhere one looks add to the festive mood of the day. The festival also offers an opportunity to bridge the gap between the existing students and the alumni.
The cultural programme is an exclusive part of the celebrations. Notable folk singer and member of the parliament, Momtaz rendered a good number of songs. Cyrus Roton Arup, student of Mechanical Engineering, BUET, says, “Saraswati Puja is something I take as an occasion that has reached far beyond its sole identity as religious ritual and provides the opportunity to meet various people. I like the festive look, students working together and the cultural programmes arranged on the occasion.
“Saraswati Puja is a symbolic representation of paying tribute to spiritual wisdom. Jagannath Hall turns into a converging point for all Bangalis. It strengthens the harmony between people from different religions,” states Imran Roni, a student of Physics from DU.
Saraswati Puja is the ultimate festival that offers students to acknowledge the purity and divinity of the soul of the youth. It is the reiteration of an ancient ritual but at the same time holds a fresh, timeless appeal.