Hardships faced by migrant workers became prominent during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, when news of workers having a hard time getting home or even getting food came, to the forefront. 

To pay tribute to the women migrant workers who have been struggling against odds to survive in the pandemic, organisers of a Durga Puja pandal in a Kolkata neighbourhood have decided to replace the idol of Goddess Durga with that of a migrant worker – mother with a child on her hip.

The decision has been taken by Barisha Club Durga Puja committee in Behala, Kolkata.

Not just the idol of Goddess Durga, but that of other deities that are a part of Durga Puja panel including Saraswati and Laxmi (Lokkhi), have also been replaced with idols of migrant workers.

Instead of the two Goddesses, idols of migrant worker’s daughters will be placed – one with an owl to represent Laxmi and other a duck, Saraswati’s chosen ‘vaahan’. A fourth idol with the head of an elephant will represent Lord Ganesha. 

All four statues have been depicted as walking towards the traditional idol of Durga, the one with ten arms, to find “relief”. In fact, ‘relief’ is the theme of Barisha Club’s Puja this year. 

“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 of the migrant mother’s statue, Rintu Das, told The Telegraph.

After witnessing the plight of migrant workers Das was prompted to create these idols. 

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