Glimpses: The Devi on Mahalaya

Mahishasurmardini fresco at Mahabalipuram
Mahishashurmardini fresco at Mahabalipuram

Mahalaya Amavasya is here! Mom woke me up at 5 a.m. to listen to Mahishasurmardini by Birendra Krishna Bhadra. For those who don’t know, it’s an radio programme consisting of recitation of the Chandipath, which eulogizes Durga Ma and narrates her victory over Mahishasura. Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s soaring vocals are the hallmark of the Chandipath. Story goes, one year, Birendra Krishna Bhadra was replaced by Uttam Kumar, the superstar of Bengali cinema akin to Amitabh Bachchan. After the programme, All India Radio was inundated by calls from furious listeners, ridiculing Kumar’s recitation and demanding for Bhadra back. Apparently there was such a brouhaha that AIR was forced to re-air the programme with Bhadra on Shashti (sixth) day. Some things can only be done by some people.

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