Kumar Rajiv Nayan
Ara : Ara collectorate pond, where thousands of devotees offer Arghya on Chhatha Puja every year, has become a symbol of communal harmony in Bhojpur district. It is said to be the only pond in Bihar where places of worship of the Muslims, Christians and the Hindus are located on the three corners of the pond.
The pond was constructed by the English for the boating. They also constructed a Church on the Southern side of the pond for the one day prayer of King George V when he was en route New Delhi to attend the ‘Delhi Darbar’ in 1911. Again a Mosque was also built on the North-East of the pond for the Muslims by the English. After independence, a Sun Temple was built to the West-North side of the pond in 1982. The Muslims, the Hindus and the Christians offer their prayer side by side without any hindrance and they cooperate with each other in practicing their religious beliefs.
Thousands of people perform Chhatha puja twice in a year at the pond. Even some Muslim families perform Chhatha with the same purity and devotion. The people spruce up the ghats at the pond and clean the water in it. The pond is decorated with lights and pandals. Some social organizations set up stalls around the pond and distribute milk for oblation. First aid and other facilities are also provided free of cost without any help from the district administration.
But at present, this historical pond is neglected due to apathetic attitude of the district administration. Though stairs are built with the fund provided by the MLA, the Bhojpur district administration never bothers to maintain the pond. This year, the pond has practically dried up filled but nothing has been done till date for filling up the pond with water so that the devotees can perform Chhatha in clean water, rued Rajendra Ojha, a resident of the area.
Mayor, Ara Municipal Corporationn (AMC), Sunil Kumar visited the collectorate pond on November 1 and 2 and directed the officials of the department concerned to clean all the ghats at Ara at the earliest.