Durga Pujo, the annual festival that pays homage to Goddess Durga is all set to commence on October 22. An interesting tradition in West Bengal is the many unique forms of the Goddess various organising committees display in their pandals (temporary sheds) every year. These usually reflect current events, to a large extent.
In 2020, amid the ‘new normal’ of digital pandal visits and home-delivery of Bhog, the plight of migrant workers during the lockdown, who had to walk barefoot for days on end under the scorching sun, has found a beautiful tribute.
Have a look at the Goddess in this pandal erected by the Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala, Kolkata.
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
Stunning details! pic.twitter.com/KbqG46yH5N
— Rashmi Singh (@RashmiSC) October 16, 2020
According to an article by The Telegraph, this statue was built by artist Pallab Bhowmick. It represents a mother as Goddess Durga along with her children – Goddess Lakshmi with an owl in her arms, Goddess Saraswati with a swan in her hand, and the young boy in her arms who signifies the God Kartikeya. A halo surrounds the mother and children with 10 hands – a traditional motif of Goddess Durga.
Interestingly, after this image went viral on Twitter, many on Twitter pointed out how celebrating Duraj Puja with a theme based on issues prevailing in the society at the time has always been common. Check out this rather special one from the World War Two era.
Not sure why people are so surprised about Durga idols being topical. They always have been. This is a WW II era Durga idol by the legendary Gopeshwar Pal (also responsible for warrior Durga/breaking away from the single frame). Note Mahishasura’s moustache. [image – Ebela] pic.twitter.com/ldmev4Wns9
— Swati (@swatiatrest) October 16, 2020