Kolkata, Sep.1 : Special training is being provided to priests in Kolkata ahead of the upcoming Durga Puja, the biggest annual festival of Bengalis devoted to Goddess Durga.
The need for providing such training was felt after noticing many a priests not paying due attention on their pronunciation skills of Sanskrit-based Shlokas.
Jayanta Kushari, an expert priest, is conducting the training programme where trainees of all age groups have enrolled themselves to acquire proper knowledge and work upon various areas of improvement.
The training program, which is being conducted at Sovabazar Raj Bari in Kolkata from August 26 to September 3, is focusing on improving pronunciation through voice modulations.
According to the trainer Jayanta Kushari, Durga Puja is partly known for its religious fervour and the ceremony involved.
"Durga Puja has two parts; one is the ceremony and the other is about the real Puja. What we are witnessing these days is that people are more interested in ceremonies. What is missing in Pujas is proper pronunciation and it needs to be paid attention to," said Jayanta Kushari, Professor and an expert priest.
Loudspeakers are used these days at most of the Puja Pandals or makeshift temples while singing the prayers or hymns for reaching out to people living at far off places.
It disappoints the devout if any priest is heard pronouncing a Shloka or verse improperly or singing hymns badly. It spoils the charm of attending the Puja and hurt religious sentiments.
Meanwhile, apart from hymns and Shlokas, the priests are also taught about various Durga Puja related legends. The classroom sessions are aimed at improving knowledge of the priests who perform Durga Puja at various pandals or makeshift temples.
"Here, we are taught topics related to Durga Puja. For instance, like how the deity got its name," said Bibhas Chakrabarty, a young priest.
Priests attending the training programme are hopeful that they would enhance their personal knowledge which would be beneficial for them in their work.
"I'm very curious to see how Jayanta Kushari has organised this special class and how he stresses on pronunciation of Sanskrit words, talks about grammar and richness of the language. I attend his classes wherever he organises them. I'm into this profession for the last 50 years. The way he sings the hymns and his pronunciation is not seen anywhere else," said Ajit Chakrabarty, an elderly priest
Jayanta Kushari has also organised such training in other parts of the country like Delhi, Gurgaon and in Uttar Pradesh to revive the ceremony. By Soma Mitra