The pandal, organised by Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala, Kolkata, features a migrant worker mother in place of the goddess.
Apart from the idol of Durga, those of the other gods and goddesses, including Saraswati, Laxmi and Ganesh and Kartik have also been replaced with idols of migrant workers. The female goddesses have been replaced with migrant worker’s daughters, carrying a duck and owl, respectively, which are considered as the deities’ chosen ‘vaahan’. The migrant worker mother idol also carries a shirtless child in her arms, in place of Kartik. Besides, there is a pot-bellied child with an elephant head, signifying Ganesha. There are no weapons nor the idol of demon god Asura.
One of the major attractions of Durga puja pandals is the theme on which the decor and idols are based. For this year’s theme, Barisha chose ‘relief’, in the wake of the pandemic. And the migrant worker idols have been designed to show walking towards a small, more traditional image of the goddess with 10 hands inside a halo looking for relief, reported telegraphindia.com.
“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,” artist Rintu Das was quoted as saying.
“During the lockdown, all I remember seeing on TV and reading in newspapers was migrant workers returning home on foot, some of them dying on the road. Some of my friends who drove to Bengal from Delhi and other parts of northern India gave me vivid details of what they saw on the roads. Durga Puja was still months away. But the indomitable spirit of the women walking home with children overwhelmed me. In my mind, they embodied the goddess,” he added.
More than one crore migrant workers returned to their home states on foot during March-June 2020, as per data compiled by the Ministry of Labour and Employment. About 81,385 accidents occurred on the roads during the period with 29,415 fatalities, the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways V K Singh told Lok Sabha in a written reply.
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