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During Navratri different forms of Durga, the Nav Durga. On one hand, women are considered the physical manifestation of Durga, on the other hand, most women are denied their fundamental rights
The festival of Navratri is one of the most anticipated. Commonly associated with Dandiya/Garba in western India and Durga Puja in eastern India, Navratri is celebrated to honour and celebrate the goddess Durga.
One of the most common WhatsApp messages circulated during this time is the nine forms of the goddess, Durga. Detailing the different forms of Durga, the Nav Durga, worshipped during Navratri, these messages are circulated and regurgitated each year.
The irony of these messages was not lost on me. On one hand, during Navratri women are considered the physical manifestation of Durga, on the other hand, most women are denied their fundamental rights.
But what power do I, an average woman, have?
None, apart from my words. And thus, I decided to give these messages a twist. It is high time society saw all the forms of women and honoured them in real life.
The first form of the goddess is Shailaputri, the daughter of the mountains. To honour this form, let us give our daughters a happy welcome into this world.
Let us not kill them in the womb or consider them a burden to be handed over to someone else as soon as possible. Let the girl child breathe.
The second form is Brahmacharini, the hermit. The best way to honour Brahmacharini is to not consider marriage as the only path open for women and young girls.
Let them discover their power hidden within, without the necessity of attaching themselves to a man. Marriage can wait, but their dreams cannot.
The Chandraghanta, the 10-armed goddess with a crescent moon on her forehead, is the third form of the goddess. Like Chandraghanta destroys all evil, let us educate our girls and young women.
Education will empower women, and help them in their fight to destroy the evils of society. Learning creates awareness, and awareness decimates ignorance.
In the fourth form, the goddess, now called Kushmanda, becomes radiant like the sun.
Like Kushmanda, let women be aware of their sexuality. To revel in their sexuality and not be apologetic or ashamed about it. Let women be in charge of their bodies and choices.
In the fifth form, the goddess takes the form of Skanda’s mother and is called Skandamata.
For each mother whom we judge, and find faults with her parenting, let us remind ourselves that every mother carries is also a manifestation of Skandmata.
And no mother is perfect, they too are learning and understanding their role in this world.
Katyayani, the outraged warrior who fights Mahishasura. To honour Katyayani, honour the women who are unafraid to speak their minds.
The women, who break glass ceilings and challenge society’s patriarchal rules through their fiery words and actions. The actions of these women will change the world for the women yet to be born.
Kalaratri— Kaali, who kills Chanda and Munda, is the seventh form of the goddess.
Teach women to be fearless, to be aware of their rights. So that if anyone wants to take away their right to live as a human, they don’t hesitate to fight back.
Just like Kaali, teach women to fight for what belongs to them.
The eighth form of the goddess is Mahagauri, the homemaker. When we honour Mahagauri, let us honour our homemakers too.
Being a homemaker is a 24/7 unpaid job. Just because a woman is “only” a homemaker does not mean that she is not intelligent or worthy of respect.
The final form of the goddess is Siddharatri, the accomplished one. But then, doesn’t the tag of the accomplished one fits all women?
The homemakers, the career-oriented, the young mothers, and the single women. All those who fought against the odds to achieve their true purpose.
A woman is the embodiment of intelligence, beauty, compassion and empathy. She needs to be, nay deserves to be, treated with honour and respect.
Not only during Navratri, but all the time.
Image Source: Debayan Ghosh, Getty Images, free on Canva Pro
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