Pooja Kochar 17 Jun 2016 . 3 min read
Every woman should be the Durga she believes in: Every time there is injustice that tears our soul, we need to fiercely protect ourselves. I refuse to accept any constraint; maybe this is what draws me towards her shakti.
We are still being killed in the womb; we are being sold; we are beaten as a sign of power; we are judged for our choices--and all this makes me extremely angry. As privileged young women, we might think that these issues are being hyped for media attention, but the truth of the not-so-privileged ones will leave you unsettled.
The projection of the fierce side of womanhood represents Durga and her strong power. Women across the globe have a universal voice: "We want to be equal". Women want a future that belongs to themselves. We are aggressive, angry, opinionated and, at times, unapologetic, because its high time our existence is not taken for granted.
The word 'Durga', in Sanskrit, means a fort. It represents a place that is protected and difficult to reach. Every woman holds that place within. Here is a glimpse of the Durga shakti I experienced while working on a story for my blog.
Meet Leela (name changed), 35, who lives in the outskirts of Karnataka. She is a teacher and a social worker fighting against girls being sold under the pretext of the Devadasi culture. Innocent under-age girls are being pushed into the flesh trade, and this inhuman act is their reality.
I was researching for a photo story on Kamathipura, Mumbai, when I got Leela's contact from one of the NGO workers in the city. One thing led to another, and she told me about her fight to educate parents in villages to allow their daughters to study and build a better future, instead of pushing them towards a dark one. The issue is deep-rooted with lot of superstitions and illogical customs that are extremely difficult to fight. There are various NGOs and social groups working against it, but the process is exhausting and risky, as you are challenging age-old beliefs.
“If I do not stand for my students, who will? My family is worried about my safety. There are times when I feel weak and question my own ability to fight back, but then something within me evokes so much courage that looking back is not an option. I will do everything possible to make a difference; the rest is destiny," said Leela.
Leela personifies the true character of the fearless goddess. She represents the courage that every woman holds within and builds her character with. Kalyug needs multiple Durgas--a Durga in every house, every school, every village, every office. Women can protect themselves--we just need to think, believe and fight together.