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Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Durga Puja pandal: To retell lockdown tale, ‘migrant mother’ idol to go to museum

The idol of the deity as a migrant mother, with a toddler (Kartik) in her arms, made headlines. Trailing the deity were her two daughters — one with a baby owl in the crook of her arm (Lakshmi), and the other caressing a swan (Saraswati).

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: October 30, 2020 8:52:15 am
durga puja 2020, west bengal durga puja 2020, kolkata durga puja, durga puja pandal migrant worker, Barisha Club pandal, kolkata city newsA migrant worker mother replaced the traditional Durga idol at a puja pandal in Kolkata. (Express photo: Shashi Ghosh)

The West Bengal government has decided to preserve the Durga idol of Kolkata’s Barisha Club that was sculpted in the image of a migrant woman as a tribute to migrant workers.

The idol of the deity as a migrant mother, with a toddler (Kartik) in her arms, made headlines. Trailing the deity were her two daughters — one with a baby owl in the crook of her arm (Lakshmi), and the other caressing a swan (Saraswati). The fourth child, the pot-bellied Ganesha with the head of an elephant, gave them company.

The club drew widespread praise for highlighting the travails faced by migrants during the Covid-19-triggerred lockdown. To keep those memories alive, the government decided to install it at a public place. For the moment, it will be kept in a museum.

“It is the Chief Minister’s advice. The day she paid a visit to our pandal, she really liked it. She clicked some photographs of the idol on her mobile too. Later we were informed they wanted to preserve the idol,” artist Rintu Das, who conceptualised the design, told The Indian Express.

Das, who is from Krishnanagar, said he reimagined the deities in this manner to pay tribute to labourers who faced massive challenges during the lockdown. Many died while walking hundreds and thousands of kilometres home as public transport went off the road.

State minister Firhad Hakim, who is in charge of the conservation process, said, “It is a great creation and we want to preserve it. For now it will be kept in a museum in the Lake area.” This is not the first Durga idol to be preserved. In the past, some were displayed in Eco Park in New Town.

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