Echoes of Famines
Bengal is covered with lush greenery but she has suffered catastrophic famines in the past. At the end of 18th century, a million people died of hunger, more millions died in the Great famine of 1943. In these trying times, cults like that of Madan Mohanji (a form of Krishna and the reigning deity of the Gokul Chandra Mitra’s rajbari) sustained people.
Every year on Annakut, newly harvested rice is being offered to Madan Mohanji. After a puja, the Mitras fling rice towards all the gathered devotees who clamor to collect as much prasad as possible. For the devotees the grains embody the blessings of Madan Mohanji and they believe that their families will not suffer hunger, famine and other calamities if they amass enough rice grains. This cult still gives hope to the hopeless.