Various religions in India follow different rituals and practices. Some are clearly explained, while the others exist because of age-old tradition. However, there are some that have deeper meanings and can be understood only if you take a closer look.
These rituals are not understood by many but followed since many years. Among such rituals is the widespread practice of using soil from prostitute’s land or Nishiddho Pallis (forbidden territories) to prepare Durga Maa’s idols in Kolkata as reported by Speaking Tree.
According to rituals, four things are essential for the preparation of the idol. Mud from the banks of holy Ganga, Cow urine, Cow dung, and soil from a brothel which is called ‘Punya Maati.’ The idol is considered incomplete without any one of these things. This ritual has been followed since many years but not many know the real reason behind it.
WATCH: Glimpses of Durga Puja celebrations from across the country pic.twitter.com/Zv9i5MsynF
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Traditionally, the priests were required to go at a sex-worker’s house and beg for the sacred soil to be used in making the idol. The priest was required to continue begging until someone relents and gives the soil. While she collects the sand, the priest enchants various mantras.
Everyone is aware that some women in our society face inhumane treatment, some are insulted over and over again and some are rejected. Amongst these, most ignored women are sex-workers. However, during the time of Navratras, women are treated as they should be throughout the year.
A theory corroborated by our Vedas states that nine classes of women known as ‘Navkanyas’ are to be worshipped during Durga Puja that includes Nati (dancer/actress), Vaishya(sex-worker), Rajaki(laundry girl), Brahmani(Brahmin girl), Shudra(girl from backward cast) and Gopala(milkmaid). The Durga Puja is incomplete if these women are not honoured during the celebrations.
Some Hindu priests believe that Mahishasur tried to malign Goddess Durga and she used all her power and rage to destroy him. Thus, this ritual is to pay respect to women who are not treated well in the society.
It is strange that this ritual is being followed since ages and yet women are ill-treated in the society. This Durga Pujo, let’s take a pledge to treat women with respect and honour like they were always meant to be.