Religion is outward expression of spirituality. Each religion has its own constituency of followers. Traditionally, religions have regarded spirituality as an integral aspect of religious experience. Culture is shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterise an institution, organization or group. It is the collective programming of the human mind that distinguishes the members of one human group from those of another. The religious and cultural practices of a particular group of persons in the society very often lead to religious socio-cultural functions. Two such religious socio-cultural functions Vinayak Chaturthi and Nuakhai are organised by Orissa Puja Committee and nuakhaibangalore respectively by People of Orissa Origin in Bangalore every year.
Vinayak Chaturthi or Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated on 4th day of the bright moon fortnight in the month of Bhadraba.This festival is honoured as the birthday of Sri Ganesh. He is worshipped as the God of wisdom, wealth, health and happiness. Lord Jagannath, the principal deity of Orissa is decorated and worshipped in the form of Sri Gajanana or Ganesh on his birthday. This particular religious culture of Orissa has influenced the celebration of Maha Vinayak Mahostav on Vinayak Chaturthi by natives of Orissa residing in Bangalore for last 16 years. This year on September 11, 2010, I attended Maha Vinayak Mahostav 2010 organised by Orissa Puja Committee Bengaluru at BEML Kalamandir Bangalore. The Ganesh puja with homa was followed by Pushpanjali by the devotees in the forenoon.At noon time Mr.Baijayanta Panda, Honourable Member of Parliament from Orissa who attended the function as Chief Guest felicitated the distinguished Odiya persons residing in Bangalore for their remarkable achievements in various fields. It was followed by Prasad Sevan with delicious Oriya food prepared by Oriya cooks. In the afternoon the audience were entertained by Oriya Music Orchestra. The printed copies of souvenir ‘ashmita’ brought out to commemorate the occasion were distributed to all participants. About 5000 Odiya people residing in Bangalore attended this year function.
Nuakhai or Nabanna is celebrated on 5th day of the bright moon fortnight in the month of Bhadraba, on the day following Ganesh Chaturthi in Orissa ,significantly in the districts of Sambalpur,Bargarh,Jharsuguda,Deogarh,Bolangir,Subarnapur,Kalahandi,Nuapada,Boudh and Sundergarh in the Western Orissa .On this day the new paddy of the agricultural year is dedicated to the gods and goddess as Bhoga and then eaten by all family members sitting together distributed by the senior most member of the family. The Nabanna is first dedicated to Maa Samaleswari, the principal deity of Western Orissa. This year it was celebrated on September 12, 2010.Many of the people of Western Orissa residing in Bangalore like to visit their native places in Orissa to attend the function in their homes. Hence the Nuakhai Bhet-Ghat or get-together after Nuakhai of Odiya people residing in Bangalore is celebrated after about a fortnight. The Nuakhai Bhet-Ghat is being organised by juhar parivar of nuakhaibanglore since 2000 every year. This year, I attended the Nuakhai Bhet-Ghat celebrated at Dr.Ambedkar Bhavan Millers road Bangalore on September 25, 2010. The program started with Maa Samalei Vandana.The anchoring of the program was good. The cultural program was mostly Sambalpuri in nature befitting to the Nuakhai Bhet-Ghat. The felicitation of distinguished persons was done in a short break during dance & song events which did not hamper the tempo of the cultural program. The Hasya-byanga talk by Sri Manoranjan Sahu, the Chief Guest of the evening from Bargarh Orissa was enjoyable. I was introduced as Retd.C.D.M.O. & a Yoga Practitioner having authored a good number of articles on Yoga by nuakhaibangalore to the audience and participants. I was delighted to have the privilege of a facilitator in the felicitation program. The dinner was very much palatable comprising Odiya more so Sambalpuri dish. The function was a grand success. About 5oo natives of Western Orissa and Odiya people belonging to other parts of Orissa residing in Bangalore attended this year function.
Dr.Mahesh Chandra Panda