Kolkata: In a historic first, Joy Mitra Street Puja pandal is worshiping the ‘transgender idol’ of goddess Durga. The idol is fashioned after Shiva’s Ardhanarishvara and attempts to represent the marginalised transgender community in Kolkata.
Spearheaded by an organisation called The Pratyay Gender Trust which which works towards sexual rights for one and all, the Puja celebration in the small locality will try to spread the message of tolerance for all genders and how festivities surpasses all divides, including gender.
According to Better India, the Puja has been organised this year by the local club Uddyami Yuvak Brinda along with the trust. Interestingly, the club, which has been organzing the Puja for the last 27 years, will include the Tansgender community for the first time in Puja celebrations.
The idol is half man-half women. One half of it has a mustache, a pectoral and part of a dhoti. The other half is the typical Durga Idol that we see in Puja Pandals.
Envisioned by 55-year-old transgender Bhanu Naskar and created by the only woman sculptor in Kumortuli, China Pal, the Durga Idol has been receiving a lot praise by the media and on social media as well. But the locals were initially apprehensive about worshiping a very different Durga Idol, they eventually agreed to it owing to the hype that it had created across the city and now the country.
They are also running a fund raising campaign on Facebook to generate more funds for the Puja celebrations. So if you are in Kolkata for Durga Puja this year, do ensure you visit Joy Mitra Street in North Kolkata to celebrate and witness something unique.