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A Durga Puja pandal in Kolkata is paying tribute to migrant workers with an idol depicting the Goddess as a migrant mother with her children.
The statue installed by Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala aims at highlighting the plight of migrants who were left without jobs and compelled to walk thousands of kilometres home when India went into a nation-wide lockdown, to combat the coronavirus pandemic, early this year.
The statue displays a saree-clad mother with her child, Kartik, on her waist. Behind the statue of the mother are her two daughters, of which one represents Goddess Lakshmi, with an owl in her arms and the other is with a duck.
A fourth idol with the head of an elephant symbolises of Lord Ganesha.
Together, the mother and her children can be seen walking towards another image of Goddess Durga.
"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," Rintu Das, the sculptor told The Telegraph.
Barisha Club's idol has no weapons.
The mother's face and her eyes are sad but protective and her only demon, according to the pandal organisers, is hunger.
"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," Das said.
As the country continues to fight the deadly coronavirus, Barisha Club has said on Facebook that this year, people will be able to enjoy Durga Puja virtually.
Durga Puja, Bengal's biggest festival, marks the homecoming of the daughter. It is a celebration of womanhood and motherhood.
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