Your Durga Idol Is Made Of Soil From Prostitutes’ Land. Did You Know?
- IWB Post
- October 21, 2015
Śubha durgā asktami, people!
We have all been celebrating and praising Goddess Durga with fervent vigor since the past week. But do we know what this beautiful idol in front of us is made up of?
Trust me, the answer is not what you think it is.
According to a certain tradition (an age-old tradition at that), the idol of Goddess Durga is made with something known as ‘blessed mixture’ or ‘punya mati’ which contains cow dung, mud from the banks of river Ganga, cow urine and a handful of soil from the Nishiddho Pallis.
You must be wondering what the latter implies.
Allow me break it down for you. Nishiddho palli translates to ‘forbidden territory’ in English. And in the context of which I am speaking right now, it refers to a place called Sonagachi, Asia’s largest red-light area situated in Kolkata.
So, as per the tradition, the priests are supposed to ‘beg’ for this soil from the prostitutes that reside there, and chant a mantra while doing so. And apparently, the auspiciousness of Durga pooja is incomplete without this one element.
As astounding as it sounds, this fact is 100 percent true my friends! And there is a beautiful (supposed) reason behind this odd-seeming ritual.
They say when a man visits a prostitute, he not only strips off his (and hers) clothes, but also his virtues of piousness by transgressing into sin. Hence, the soil at the doorstep contains purity in abundance. Maybe whoever started this custom considered these prostitutes as incarnations of Goddess Durga who kill the demon ‘Kaam’ from our society.
It is also said that this custom is an attempt at including this fallen and barred section of the society into mainstream. And then there is yet another set of people who think that this ritual originated as a tribute to the courtesans who were known for their proficiency in the arts.
Maybe that is right. Maybe that is wrong. Whichever way, this custom is still being followed and its origins are still an intriguing mystery.
I personally think that the ritual is a perfect exhibition of the tables turning. Visiting someone with begging hands who we otherwise curse and shoo away. But then again, let’s face it… it is a one-day glory that those sex workers receive. The rest of the days, the society continues to call them sluts. Doesn’t it?
Tell us your take on the mystery.