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Migrant Mother To Be Worshipped As Goddess In Kolkata Durga Puja This Year. This Is To Pay Tribute To Workers Who Suffered During The Lockdown

October 16, 2020 | by Anjali Agarwal

Not one day goes when I don’t curse the coronavirus and lockdown for the very fact that it has locked up me in one place for seven months. However, deep down, I’m also low-key thankful that I got to spend some time away from the hustle, work from the comfort from my home, discover new interests and rekindle my love for painting. It’s been a good time, but that’s because I had the luxury to reach home safe and in time while there were scores of people struggling to do the same. These were migrant workers who walked hundreds of kilometers in scorching heat, without food and with little children in their arms because there were no transportation services available.

Everyone witnessed their plight which actually reflected the flip side of precautionary measures taken by the government in the times of crisis. We saw them lose their jobs overnight, get harassed by the authorities on the way to their villages and dying on the railway tracks. The lockdown was specifically hard on these migrant workers who were more at risk of dying due to starvation than from the coronavirus.

To pay tribute to their undying spirit, bravery and determination, a Kolkata neighbourhood has decided to worship the idol of a migrant worker, a mother carrying a child, in place of goddesses this Durga Puja. Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala, Kolkata have will be replacing the traditional idols of goddesses Durga, Laxmi and Saraswati and would install a migrant mother’s idol at the Durga Puja pandal this year. This will remind us of their valiant efforts and hardships during lockdown.

Also Read: This Woman Walked 160 kms Immediately After Giving Birth To Reach Her Village. She’s Strong But The Plight Of Migrants Is Heart-Wrenching

Durga Puja celebrates the victory of good over evil but at large it is a harvest festival that epitomizes the motherly power of the Maa Durga. These migrant women who carried their children while walking barefoot on empty stomach for miles were human equivalent of goddess Durga. This was the inspiration behind the creation of the idol of migrant mother when artist Rintu Das came up with the concept. He wanted to mirror the relentless spirit of a mother in the spirit of the festival that celebrates the goddess of life and creation.

He saw the women walking on roads to return to their native place while he was travelling during lockdown which prompted him to honour them as goddesses. He told the Telegraph, “Durga Puja was still months away. But the indomitable spirit of women walking home with children overwhelmed me. In my mind, they embodied the goddess.” The theme of the pandal this year is relief (tran in Bengali) and these idols depict the longing for relief they sought during the tough times. “The goddess is the woman who braved the scorching sun and hunger and penury along with her children. She is looking for food, water, and some relief for her children.” he added.

The mother dressed in a saree who portrays goddess Durga carries a child (kartikeya) in one hand and a bag in other. Apart from this, there will be idols of two little girls installed. While one daughter will have an owl in her arm depicting goddesses Laxmi, the other one and one will be holding a duck, signifying goddess Saraswati. There will also be an idol of a young boy with potbelly and an elephant head to signify lord Ganesha.

This is the second time where a festival has served as a fitting opportunity to honour the fearless during Covid. Before this, on the occasion of Ganesh Chaturthi, the idols of lord Ganesh and Goddess Gauri were clad in the doctor’s coat and uniform of police force to as a gesture to thank the frontline workers working tirelessly during the pandemic. These people have shown god-like superpowers and kindness and there couldn’t be a better way to honour them than putting them in the place of god through incredible art and creativity.

This idol of a migrant woman to be worshipped as Goddess Durga at the Durga Puja festival speaks a thousand words. It acknowledges the fact that the system might have failed the migrant workers but we certainly haven’t forgotten the hardships they faced during the lockdown. This gesture and creativity is par excellence!

Also Read: Woman Constable Honours Corona Warriors By Dressing Goddess Gauri As Doctor And Policewoman. What A Great Way To Appreciate Their Efforts

Anjali Agarwal

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