The struggles that lockdown and COVID-19 brought on to everyone has been quite difficult, but for many others, its effects had been, and still are, quite extreme. Although we all suffered, nothing can be equal to the plea of migrant labourers who neither had a roof over their heads nor food on their plates.
This was extremely hard for the migrant labourers. With no transportation services, many of them walked barefoot to their villages. Scores of them died on the way home. Their plight was an uncomfortable reminder of how some of the precautionary measures taken to fight the deadly virus proved to be detrimental.
A Kolkata neighbourhood took the matter into its own hands and has come up with a beautiful way to not only salute their bravery during such tough times but to also remind the country about their pain and sufferings during the lockdown.
This year for Durga Puja, the Barisha Club in the city’s Behala area has decided to install an idol of a migrant worker who is also a mother. Clad in a saree, the mother will be seen walking with a shirtless toddler in her arms. Their theme for this year’s festivities is ‘Tran’ (relief). With this, they wanted to highlight the migrant workers and their pain during the pandemic.
Migrant Mother as Goddess Durga at a Durga Puja Pandal this year
The idol of a migrant worker mother, a shirtless toddler (Kartick) in her arms, that will be worshipped as Goddess Durga at Barisha Club in Behala, West Bengal
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Along with this, two other idols will be installed showing her daughters walking right behind her. One will be carrying an owl and the other a duck. A fourth sibling will also be seen who will have ahead of an elephant.
Together, all of them will be seen walking towards an image of Goddess Durga with ten hands who is inside a halo. What will be depicted here is that the mother and her four children are proceeding towards the goddess for relief.
This is the brainchild of an artist named Rintu Das, who has experience of working during the festival over the years. Speaking to a news media outlet, he talked about the idea, “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.”
Das was prompted to create this after seeing the news in the lockdown about the migrant workers. His friends who had travelled from Delhi and other parts of northern India to West Bengal had recounted what they saw on the roads.
“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,” he added.
This year, the idol will not have any weapons. The ‘demon’ here will be hunger. The mother’s face depicts kindness but her eyes are sad yet protective.
The idols reached the Barisha Club pandal on Thursday. The state’s CM, Mamata Banerjee will inaugurate the same on Friday.