A Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata, West Bengal, is paying a special tribute to migrant workers with a statue depicting the Goddess as a migrant mother with her children. According to Telegraph India, the Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala, Kolkata, has decided to install the statue to highlight the plight of migrant workers who were left without jobs and forced to walk hundreds of kilometres home as the country went into a coronavirus-induced lockdown earlier this year.
The statue shows a saree-clad mother with her child Kartik on her hip. Behind the statue of the mother are her two daughters. According to News 18, one of them – representing Goddess Lakshmi – will have an owl in her arms. The other will be seen with a duck. A fourth idol with the head of an elephant will be symbolic of Lord Ganesha.
Together, the mother and her children will be seen walking towards a smaller, more traditional image of Ma Durga – a halo with 10 hands.
Pallab Bhowmick’s Ma Durga for the Pujo this year, as a migrant worker with her children.
Very evocative. pic.twitter.com/aAlJVI9XKO
— Joy Bhattacharjya (@joybhattacharj) October 16, 2020
Rintu Das, the artiste behind the sculptures that have gone viral on social media, told Telegraph India that the migrant mother is representative of a goddess.
“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,” Mr Das, a graduate of the Government College of Art and Craft, said.
“During the lockdown, all I remember seeing on TV and reading in newspapers was migrant workers returning home on foot… 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.”
The sudden announcement of the nationwide lockdown in March compelled millions of migrant workers to return home on foot. Heartbreaking images showed migrant workers walking miles in the sun while carrying their children and with all their belongings.
As the country continues to battle coronavirus, Barisha Club has said on Facebook that this year, people will be able to enjoy Durga Puja digitally.
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