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  • Trisha Bhattacharya

Maa Durga is a feminist

Updated: Oct 31, 2020

It is that time of the year which kickstarts all the end of year festivities. It is our favourite Durga puja and everyone is busy dressing up, visiting pandals, eating out and even clicking the perfect pictures to post on their social media handles. Just how the feminine energy of Maa Durga is invincible, so is the puja-fanatic crowd even during Covid times. But ever wondered the significance behind the puja, the strength it embodies?

“This festival is about women’s empowerment, whereby a form of the Mother Goddess, Shakti, incarnates as goddess Durga inculcating the purest power of all the gods to kill the asura (demon) named Mahishasur. While all of this is mythological lore, it also has deep symbolic significance in recent times and will always be relevant,” a Brahmin priest at Khadki, Kalibari says.

Here is a picture which showcases Maa Durga's robustness, resilience and grace.

Kumari Puja brings in more perspective to Durga Puja where in young girls are worshipped in sense of Divine Mother to create a celestial bonding between the Divine and the human. Bengal celebrates it on Maha Ashtami, the eighth day of Durga Puja, while it is held on the ninth day or the last day of Navaratri in other states of India. Kumari puja was restricted to Brahmin girls but recently a family in Kolkata has given more preference to inclusivity wherein they worshipped a Muslim girl and it is great to hear that many of us are evolving as human beings. Hear it from them-

“Maa Durga has no caste, creed or religion. We are worshipping the child as Ma and motherhood has no religion. Hinduism is a liberal religion and we shouldn’t be rigid,”

Though I wish to know why worshipping is limited to young girls who are at their pre-puberty phase, virgins and are un-married and not open to women of every age group. I think the link goes back to a child being related to a pure and humane form of God. But again, who decides what and who is pure? Growing into an adult, having relationships, marriage doesn't make a soul impure. Yet again marriage is considered an auspicious and pure ceremony. Would we have done the same if it was a boy? The borderline of purity seems to be quite blurred to me. Yes, I am questioning the builders of such practices on this.

India with its traditions are so pure and empowering, people of India are very much involved in such joyous moments, then why do the same people bring shame to the nation when we hear about the various kinds of atrocities the female gender of the nation face on a daily basis? Think about it, think on what can we do to improve more participation of women in various fields, to idolise women at different lead positions apart from just idolising as God, to educate girls, to never stop them from achieving their dreams and questioning the norms of the society, to teach your sons how to respect other's daughters and not just yours.

Women have been always vital in shaping emotions to ideas to economies to homes. I don't believe women aren't physically strong as men. What about the strength with which she survives her period cramps or gives birth to a new life? What about the mental strength she puts in solving issues pragmatically yet gracefully? Mind is a part of our body, right? What about the strength with which she conquers and survives the injustices she faces every day in her life? What about her?

If we are so devoted to our Gods, then we should be equally devoted to protect the women of our country so that she can live freely without the fear of inequality and threats. I wish to see a world where respect and gratitude towards women around you don’t just end with Dashami (Dussehra), when the festivities come to an end because I think Maa Durga comes every year with a purpose to see how much humanity has evolved for the better than the previous year.

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