Tuesday, 13 April 2021 | PNS | Dehradun
Though several devotees refrained from observing the Kanya Pujan ritual of Chaitra Navratri last year due to Covid-19 in Uttarakhand, many are looking forward this year to celebrate this ritual. Most of them opined that the Covid-19 pandemic was new at that time and people did not know much about the disease but this time, it is different as they are aware of how to tackle the disease this time. The Kanya Pujan ritual is observed on the eighth or ninth day of Navratri called Ashtami and Navmi respectively by the devotees who observe fast during this period. In this ritual, the devotees worship the young girls as goddesses and offer them Prasad that mainly include Poori, Chana and Halwa. Last year, many parents also refrained from sending their young daughters for Kanya Pujan. However, most of the parents are not against it this time which evidently shows that the scare of Covid-19 is comparatively less among people here this year.
“Everything is functional from malls and marketplaces to tourist spots and restaurants where hundreds of people arrive and interact with each other. If people can go there amid the pandemic, what is wrong with observing a ritual that hardly takes 30 minutes? My family did not do Kanya Pujan last year but we would do it this time,” said Dipti Rana, a resident of Roorkee. A Dehradun resident, Deepa Khansali said that there is no harm in conducting Kanya Pujan at home while observing all the precautions like people must observe at every other place during the pandemic. “I will make sure that I don’t invite any sick child for Kanya Pujan but there is no harm in celebrating Navratri while taking all the precautionary measures. When the government can conduct Kumbh Mela amid the pandemic, then I think people can take care of nine children for a few hours,” said Khansali. However, some opined that people should not observe the Kanya Pujan ritual at such critical times when the Covid-19 cases are rising in the State. “The cases are increasing consistently across the State. Even those people who are following proper guidelines are getting afflicted by Covid-19. How can people risk children’s health for the sake of a ritual? We need to be practical and take every possible measure to restrict the contagion,” said a school teacher from Haldwani, Deepa Bisht. She added that even if somebody is inviting young girls to Kanya Pujan, their parents should not send them considering the risk of contagion in the present times.