Mirati (West Bengal), Sep 28 (IANS) Now enjoying a retired life months after stepping down from the country’s top constitutional post, former President Pranab Mukherjee donned the priest’s robe to immerse himself in the Durga puja at his ancestral home in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
Mukherjee supervised the performing of the Mahashtami puja rituals on Thursday at the ancestral house “Mukherjee Bhawan” in Mirati village. He also conducted the arti with a silken chadar draped around his shoulders.
As in earlier years, Mukherjee chanted hymns and did the chandipath, watched by a large number of villagers and other devotees who came from various parts of the districts, even from outside, to watch the son of the soil taking part in the rituals.
In a break from the past five years, when he was the country’s President, Mukherjee a day back himself performed ‘Nabapatrika snan-o-sthapan’ – a Mahasaptami ritual to put life into the idol of the deity.
During his days as the President, Mukherjee had left the ritual to his eldest son Abhijeet due to security issues.
But this time, the 81-year-old senior Mukerjee himself bathed the ‘Kola bou’ (tender banana plant) in the canal close to Mukherjee Bhawan by leading a ceremonial procession.
On Wednesday, Mukherjee reached Mirati amid heavy security arrangements after a brief rest at his elder sister Annapurna Banerjee’s house in nearby Kirnahar.
For years, the veteran leader – who at different times served as the country’s Defence, External Affairs, Finance Minister among others as also as Deputy Chairman of the now abolished Planning Commission – has been conducting the Durga puja rituals at his ancestral house.
He has steadfastly stuck to the routine by taking out time during the festival despite his busy schedule as in charge of various constitutional and political posts.
The only exceptions were when he used to be abroad representing India in various international fora.
Mukherjee demitted office as President on July 25 with Ramnath Kovind succeeding him in the Rashtrapati Bhavan.
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