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Monday, October 3, 2022

West Bengal: Return of Tribeni Kumbh Mela after 700 years; was discontinued after Islamic invasion of Bengal

It is a lesser-known fact that Tribeni, a town in the Hooghly district of West Bengal, was the famous host to the Kumbh Mela before the Islamic invasion of Bengal took place. The mela was discontinued after the Turkic invader, Zafar Khan Ghazi invaded Bengal in 1298 CE. But after an over 700-year-long wait, the Kumbh Mela of Tribeni made the much-awaited return to the land of its origin this February. 

Situated on a holy site where rivers Ganga, Yamuna, and the Saraswati (a historic river by the same name as the Vedic Saraswati) are found, much like one sees in Prayagraj, the Tribeni got its name from this outstanding geographic phenomenon. The Yuktaveni, confluence of the three Vedic rivers, that takes place at Prayagraj, is believed to disentangle at the Muktaveni of the Tribeni Sangam. The Bhagirath Hoogly, a major tributary of the Ganga divides itself into Ganga, Yamuna, and Saraswati at this Sangam. Not many know that the Kumbh Mela of Bengal would take place at this Sangam before the dark era of Islamist rule descended on this region. 

Bengal suffered the onslaught of Islamic invasions during the final years of the Sen Empire. In 1298, Zafar Khan Gazi, a Turkish invader, who strangely is celebrated in most of the historical content we find around, stormed into Bengal to set up an Islamic empire, and to mark his arrival, he tore down a revered Vishnu Temple.

Tearing down Hindu places of worship is a common trait shared by most radical Islamists that invaded Bharat, and Gazi was not very different from the others of his kind. He also built a mosque on the ruins of the ancient Hindu temple he had just destroyed. Though a lot of architectural aspects were run over to hide the truth, the mosque, to date, betrays Gazi’s treachery as the architecture, the formations of countless Hindu deities including Bhagwan Vishnu’s Dashawatars are a clear give away of the mosque being a Hindu temple after all. The doorway gives a glimpse of Hindu Vaishnav architecture. 

Zafar Khan Ghani Masjid North wall collage

With Islamic rulers dominating the length and breadth of Bengal, the holy dip at the Tribeni, also known as the Tribeni snan was discontinued from 1399. The Kumbh Mela too seized to exist. With generation after generation of Bengali youth turning communists and gravitating towards phony secularism, it was not a surprise that no one in Bengal moved to restore the Vishnu Temple underneath the mosque. 

Hence, it was exhilarating to know that though, in small pockets, people of Bengal have started to wake up to their identity. On February 12 and 13, after 703 years, the ancient Kumbh Mela was organized at the holy site of Tribeni Sangam and people reached the place for their Kumbh Snan. The initiative to resume the holy snan and mela was taken by Kartick Maharaj of the Bharat Sevasram Sangha. The mela was crowdfunded by devoted NRIs.

The state government ruled by the Islamist-pandering TMC relented and permitted them to organize the event only five days before its commencement, and the event opened amidst the echoes of conch shells and melodies of the Aditya Hridoy Stotram. A large number of monks, seers, bauls, and people of the Matua community, disciples of Thakur Harichand and Thakur Guruchand, and devotees from various Sanatan groups arrived at the site to mark the renaissance of Hindu awakening in Bengal. 

All Covid protocols were also followed during the event; a Vishwa Shanti Yagna was also performed to pray for world peace. It is saddening to see that the Yamuna River has disappeared due to geological activities while River Saraswati has thinned its course due to dumping of fly ash etc. thereby turning it into a drain. That the flickering stream of the river was still potent enough to ignite a sense of cultural identity among people of a generation that had almost forgotten its roots was an encouraging experience nevertheless.  

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