This year, India saw the worst migrant crisis ever. Migrant workers across the country were forced to flee cities and faced immense hardships with no means of livelihood.
Their stories not only broke our hearts but also reminded us of the harsh inequality and class divide that exists in India.
As things return to normal and we near festivities, a Durga Puja club in Kolkata has decided to replace the traditional idol of Durga with a statue of a migrant worker and mother with her child.
We have seen so many such instances of migrant workers carrying their children and walking hundreds of miles back to their homes during the lockdown.
The Barisha Club in the city’s Behala area has selected ‘Relief’ as its theme for celebrations, this year. They want to salute the migrant workers, especially women who fought against all odds.
Migrant Mother as Goddess Durga at a Durga Puja Pandal this year— Dheeraj Aap ( Fan Of Ak & Ms ) (@AapActive123) October 15, 2020
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
Heart-touching! https://t.co/RsCm4L2D91 pic.twitter.com/eHej5ymX8R
Along with the main idol, two other idols will be installed showing the migrant worker’s 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 a head of an elephant, representing Ganesha. Together, all of them will be seen walking towards an image of Goddess Durga with 10 hands.
The design is the idea of an artist Rintu Das. Speaking to the Telegraph, he said:
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. 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.
According to reports, this year, the idol won’t have any weapons and the demon will be hunger.
The idea is already sending out a strong message to the community.
During this year’s #DurgaPuja, the goddess has been re-imagined as a migrant worker returning home kids in tow, like millions of women did earlier in the year. The goddess stands resolute with the victims of an indifferent government. pic.twitter.com/7PMICTLuid— Bodhisattva #DalitLivesMatter (@insenroy) October 15, 2020
Why City of Joy,Kolkata is the Intellectual/Cultural capital of India— Vinay Kumar Dokania 🇮🇳 🖐️ (@VinayDokania) October 16, 2020
The indomitable spirit of a migrant worker carrying her children,waking 1000s of KM back home,is replicated as Ma Durga’s Idol at a #DurgaPuja pandal in Behala, Kolkata.Most beautiful thing to watch n witness pic.twitter.com/HHDDhPB06F
Durga puja is not only about goddess worship, in Bengal we look for the goddess amongst the common people. She is our family, our mother, our daughter, our sister.— سننٹوٹو Sunandito (@Sunandito1974) October 16, 2020
This year Ma has arrived in the form of migrant worker with her children.
Joy Durga! pic.twitter.com/t7s9I2SD23
It’s great to see that people will worship the indomitable spirit of real women, this year.