Buroraj of Jamalpur: A Glimpse Into the Religio-Cultural Scenario of Rural Bengal
The scope of cultural history of West Bengal is immense. And of course, religion plays a great part in the enrichment of culture. ‘Buroraj’ of Jamalpur might be considered as a glaring example of this statement.
Jamalpur is a little known village in Kalna sub-division of Barddhaman district in West Bengal. To access there you have to get down at Patuli, the nearest railway station on Bandel-Katwa section of the Eastern Railway, and Jamalpur is nearly 10 kilometer from there.
(Please refer the place in the map given as URL http://www.maplandia.com/india/west-bengal/barddhaman/patuli/ )
The coinage of the name ‘Buroraj’ was very simple and interesting. ‘Buro’ of Buroshiva (i.e. Lord Shiva) and ‘raj’ of Dharmaraj (i.e. Lord Yama) were combined to form the name of this new God, ‘Buroraj’.
There is a myth behind the advent of ‘Buroraj’. It is said that there lived a milkman named Jadu Ghosh at the village of Nimdaha. He had a large number of cows and buffaloes which used to graze on the nearby field and jungle everyday. It was discovered that the milk of a cow called Shyamali of the herd was being stolen everyday. But nobody could solve the mystery. The cowboys lost their jobs. At last Jadu himself followed Shyamali and found that it was running towards the jungle of Jamalpur. Then it stopped at a place in the jungle and the milk started to run down from both of its teats like fountains. Being confounded Jadu reported this incident to the local priest, Mr. Madhusudan Chattopadhyay. When Mr. Chattopadhyay went to that place in the jungle, he saw that the milk was being gathered on a stone which is nothing but a phallic symbol of Lord Shiva. On that very night Mr. Chattopadhyay had a dream in which the God ordained him to make arrangements for the puja of Lord Shiva in a very simple way. So it was done. Mr. Chattopadhyay started to worship the stone and Jadu stood watching. Thus began the tradition of the worship of ‘Buroraj’.
‘Buroraj’ is worshipped in the custom like that of Lord Yama. But the idol is of Lord Shiva. The puja of ‘Buroraj’ takes place every year on a full moon day in the month of May, i.e. on the birthday of Lord Buddha. Overnight thousand and thousands of people pour into the place from all over the state to offer their puja. They sacrifice goats in the name of Lord Yama. Thousands of such sacrifices are done on that single day in the vicinity of the temple. Here and there you can see the blood clots of animal sacrifice. People gather with sticks, battle-axes and choppers in small and large groups. These groups fight with each other to take possession of the sacrificed goats. Though it seems nothing but a barbarism today, it was, no doubt, a game of valor in the past.
The temple of ‘Buroraj’ is not made of brick or stone. It is a simple hut thatched with straw. It is said that the God had forbidden to make His temple there. There occurs a fair at Jamalpur during the whole month of the puja of ‘Buroraj’. Businessmen and artisans come from Kolkata, Nabadwip, Krishnagar, Barddhaman, Katwa, Kalna, Shantipur and many other places of West Bengal. They don’t even get proper shelter. But here there is no narrowness, no poverty of mind. Juxtaposition and compromise are there between two Gods, i.e. Lord Shiva and Lord Yama, between Brahmins and other castes, between peace and animal sacrifice. ‘Buroraj’ is nothing but a symbol of generosity devoid of prejudice and at the same time, an icon of Bengal’s own religion of man.
Written by pinakighosh
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