President Pranab will be home for puja but with new protocols

This Durga Puja, Mirati village in Birbhum district will witness the protocols followed at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Continuing his practice of the past 25 years, President Pranab Mukherjee will be at his ancestral home at Mirati, participating in the Durga Puja celebrations from October 20 to 23. The President will be accompanied by his wife Shubhra, son Abhjit and daughter Sharmishta.

"This year, since he has become the President we were wondering whether he would come to participate in the puja. But my brother was very keen on coming and he has confirmed. State government officials have been coming here to make arrangements,'' Annapurna Devi, Pranab's elder sister, told The Indian Express.

On Wednesday, Rashtrapati Bhavan officials will hold a meeting with representatives of the district administration and key members of the Mukherjee household.

Annapurna Devi said that they were gearing up for her brother's visit. "My brother is now the President of India. So, there's a protocol to be maintained. The state administration is in touch with us," she said.

The Durga Puja at Mukherjee household is about 110 years old. It was started by Pranab's grandfather Jangaleshwar Mukherjee. The rituals are performed in strict conformity with the scriptures. Everyday at least 1,000 people participate in the celebrations and community lunch. Mukherjee, clad in pattabastram, walks to the canal near the house to perform rituals like nabapartrika snan, recites from the Chandi Stotram, and performs sandhipuja on Mahaashtami day.

Villagers are enthusiastic about Pranab's visit. "This year will be different as he has become the President and there will be a lot of protocol to be maintained," said Ravi Chatterjee, his neighbour.

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