For long, sex workers have remained on the periphery of social order. It's about time that we start recognising their existence and their struggles, so that it opens up the path of reformation in their living conditions and more.
The Ahiritola Jubakbrinda Durga puja committee, North Kolkata took up the project to paint a 300 feet long tract of road in Ahiritola area with graffiti dedicated to sex workers.
This bold and progressive move inculcated vivid and colourful impressions of the life and struggles of the sex workers to spread awareness among the people. In a media statement, the organisation emphasised the importance of "portraying the immense contribution of this community and featuring their untold story which the society has always been ignorant to".
With an aim of giving back the dignity and acknowledgement the sex workers deserve and standing by the demands of work rights for them, the committee said,
"Our society takes pride in the devotion to Devi Durga, yet fails to worship the womanhood in all of its forms and walks of life. The city Durga Puja organizers are hence determined to support the journey of the sex workers pledging to return their basic rights to live in the society keeping their head high just like others."
This is the first street graffiti in the world to focus on the lives of sex workers. It chronicles their untold story in a timeline sequence. Starting with a door with three women peeping from behind, the next impression moves on to a woman with a distorted 'Kumkum line' signifying 'tragedy of her fate'. The graffiti portrays a whole spectrum of emotions in both gloomy and lively colours.
Inclusion of sex workers in a mainstream festival celebrations like Durga Pujo is a huge win. After the scrapping of Section 377, social acceptance by the virtue of representation in the mainstream is the way to go, so that the emotion percolates down to the masses.
With another news of a transgender lawyer painting Durga's eyes (Chakshu Dan) for the first time and now this; looks like Kolkata is changing India one stroke at a time.