In every Bengali household, probashi or otherwise, Mahalaya begins early morning, at around 4am. The women as well as the men, especially elders and the children, are wide awake in the wee hours unlike other days, revelling in the joy of Maa Durga’s arrival as the legendary Mahishasura Mardini narrated by Birendra Krishna Bhadra plays on the radio.
Mahalaya, which marks the beginning of Devi Paksha and the end of Pitri Paksha, is absolutely incomplete without the Mahishasura Mardini rendition early morning. For Bengalis, at the very least, the essence of Mahalaya lies in Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s baritone voice as he recites the slokas. All across the world, Birendra Krishna Bhadra is synonymous with Mahalaya as the acclaimed radio broadcaster is celebrated ever since, especially on this day.
Birendra Krishna Bhadra is synonymous with Mahalaya.
Like every year on Mahalaya, Birendra Krishna Bhadra occupied the top spot on the trends list in 2021 as well and if you wish to know more about him, read on.
WHO IS BIRENDRA KRISHNA BHADRA?
Born in August 1905 to Roy Bahadur Kalikrishna and Sarala Bala Devi in North Kolkata’s Ahiritola, Birendra Krishna Bhadra is a celebrated actor, narrator and theatre director as well. He worked for All India Radio in the 1930s, and during his tenure, adapted and restructured several classics to produce several radio plays.
BIRENDRA KRISHNA BHADRA AND MAHISHASURA MARDINI
All India Radio, Kolkata began broadcasting a two-hour program called Mahishashura Mardini in the 1930s. This depicts the incarnation of Devi Durga following the unification process of all the power of the Gods and her emergence as Mahisasuramardini in the subsequent battle with Mahishasura.
Recited by Birendra Krishna Bhadra and scripted by Bani Kumar, Mahishashura Mardini’s music was directed by Pankaj Kumar Mallik.
Even after almost 90 years since its inception, Birendra Krishna Bhadra’s Mahishasura Mardini is played by All India Radio every Mahalaya. In fact, Mahishasura Mardini, in Bhadra’s voice, is so popular that even legendary actor Uttam Kumar’s rendition of it in 1976 wasn’t received as well by the audience.
Goddess Durga, it is said, begins her journey with her children – Lord Ganesha, Lord Kartik, Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Saraswati, from Mount Kailash to her maternal home on Earth after Mahalaya. The five days of Durga Puja are observed as Shashthi, Saptami, Ashtami, Navami and Vijaya Dashami.
Maha Shashthi is on October 11 this year while Durga Puja will conclude on October 15 with Vijay Dashami.
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