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Puja pandal in Kolkata replaces Durga idols with statue of migrant woman to tribute mothers

TPE Correspondent

New Delhi October 17th

Paying tributes to the migrant workers who have suffered the most during this coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, the Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala, Kolkata has decided to install an idol of woman migrant worker with her children in place of Durga idol. The Durga idols are replaced in order to tribute and highlight the plight of migrant workers who faced immense hardships due to the coronavirus pandemic, and are still struggling to survive this crisis. They were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres home as the country went into a coronavirus lockdow.

The statue, installed by the Barisha Club Durga Puja committee, shows a saree-clad mother with her child Kartik on her hip. Behind the statue of the mother are her two daughters. Together, the mother and her children will be seen walking towards the image of Maa Durga – a halo with 10 hands. The Barisha club has chosen ‘Relief’ as the theme for this year’s Durga Puja celebrations, in wake of the coronavirus pandemic. “The pandal is based on the theme of the life of migrant workers and what they have faced during coronavirus lockdown,” said President of the Pandal, Sudip, as quoted by news agency ANI.

The idol artist at the Barisha club Durga Puja committee, Rintu Das, as quoted by ANI said, “Idea came when I saw the plight of migrant workers. Woman walking with 4 children, without aid, is something I consider worth deifying”.

Apart from Durga’s idol, the idols of other gods and goddesses, including, Saraswati, Laxmi, Ganesh and Kartik, have also been replaced for this year’s Navratri celebration. The female goddesses — Laxmi and Saraswati — have been replaced with migrant worker’s two daughters, carrying owl and duck, respectively, which are the deities’ chosen ‘Vahan’ (transport).

In place of Kartik’s idol, the idol of migrant worker mother also carries a child in her arms. Besides, there is a pot-bellied child with an elephant head, signifying Ganesha. There are no weapons nor the idol of demon god Asura. The festival of Sharad Navratri started today, with people across the country celebrating the nine-day long festival with full fervour and joy. The Sharad Navratri 2020 will conclude on October 25, with Ram Navmi, followed by the festival of Dussehra. During the nine days of Sharad Navratri, devotees observe fasts and worship the nine avatars of Goddess Durga.

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