Kirnahar (WB), Sep 1 (PTI) An oil portrait of former president Pranab Mukherjee graced the wooden chair, on which he would sit and chant shlokas at his ancestral temple in Birbhum during Durga Puja, as scores of people lined up to offer floral tributes and light candles in memory of their beloved 'Poltu da'.
Grief-stricken neighbours and family members, who had been holding yagnas for Mukherjee's recovery over the past three weeks, milled around his residence 'Kamada Kinkar Bhavan' at Miriti village on Tuesday, most of them recounting how the statesman touched their lives in one way or the other.
'The village has lost its guardian,' Bipattaran Mukhopadhyay, the family priest, said, standing in front of the temple, inside which stood the half-done clay idols of Goddess Durga and her children, work for which started on Rath Yatra, just like every year.
Mukherjee, who had in his earlier years sat on the floor of the temple to perform the Durga puja rituals, took to the chair with carved hand rest in his later years, he said.
Several elders in the village said Durga puja will no longer be the same without him.
'We are lucky that this great son of the country hailed from our village; his demise has left a void that cannot be filled,' said Karuna Shankar Roy, a middle-aged resident of Mirati.
The former president, son of freedom fighter Kamada Kinkar Mukherjee, did his schooling from Shibchandra Uchcha Bidyalaya (high school) at Kirnahar. He graduated from Vidyasagar College at Siuri, the district town.
Mukherjee (84) died on Monday evening at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi cantonment following a 21-day battle with multiple ailments.
His mortal remains were cremated with full state honours on Tuesday afternoon.PTI AMR RMS RMS