Many facets of Durga

Amrita Prasad
Saturday, 13 May 2017

Kolkata-based photographer Raktim Saha shows different faces of Durga through a photoseries

Durga or Shakti is worshipped in many forms like Bhadrakali, Amba, Gauri, Annapurna, Shailaputri, Chandika  and so on. The nine days of Navratri when Goddess Durga is worshipped is one of the biggest festivals of Hindus in India. 

Kolkata-based photographer Raktim Saha, has created a photoseries titled Devangshi where he has shown each day of the festival portraying a myriad of emotions and facets of the goddess, namely, peace, power, love, beauty, a mother who has been sexually assaulted, healer, warrior, and so on. Shot in Chorki, a small village by the side of river Ajay in Burdwan, West Bengal, the photoseries is relevant to today’s woman. Here, he explains the facets:

MAHALAYA (LIGHT)
When all other lights go out, she is the light in darkness. 

PRATIPADA (HELPLESS)
Durga, a woman of substance and  a personification of power, also feels restless and tired as a normal human being. Although she is worshipped as a deity, a lot of times she is also taken for granted but she has stopped caring about it.

DWITYA (DARKNESS)
Durga is also a mother who has been sexually assaulted and is waiting for justice.

TRITYA (PEACE)
Sometimes, a revolution is needed to bring about peace. Mahishasur Mardini (which means the goddess who killed the demon Mahishasur) is a perfect example of how a woman must wage a war to attain peace and justice. Non-violence methods may not always work. 

CHATURTHI (Warrior)
Weapons are merely the attire of a warrior. What makes one a true  warrior is the willingness to survive.  Durgotinashini is all about survival. If you have the willingness to fight, you can overcome all challenges, including gender discrimination. 

PANCHAMI (HEALER)
She is not only the saviour but heals minds and souls. She is Nature and spreads her radiance and beauty around her. Durga is the mother who protects and provides serene slumber to the restless. She is a healer. 

SHASHTI (POWER)
On the one hand, a woman can be submissive and on the other, she can display her inner strength. Shashti is a day which reminds that a woman’s might and power can challenge the patriarch.

SAPTAMI (LOVER)
Durga has always been painted as a woman of strength, power and aggression. However, as Parvati, she is an excellent example of a dedicated lover, who sacrifices her life because her husband’s dignity has been maligned. She is a bold symbol of love. 

ASHTAMI (BEAUTY)
Durga was not only gifted with strength and power but unparalleled beauty which can win over any human heart.

NABAMI ( MOTHER)
Durga is always addressed as ‘Maa’. By killing Mahishasur, she not only protects commoners but also the gods. During Hemant Ritu or autumn (the conventional time to celebrate Durga Puja is Basant Ritu or spring), Lord Rama worshipped Durga and sought her blessings to defeat Ravana. This uncustomary time to start worship is called Akal Bodhan. Durga impressed by Lord Ram’s dedication blessed him with victory over Ravana because she knew that letting Ravana get moksha was the need of the hour.
 
DASHAMI (THE END)
Every creation has a purpose and when the purpose is fulfilled, the creation is destroyed or dismantled. The earth has very little space to carry her, so after you worship Goddess Durga,  you bid her goodbye and immerse her. Goodbyes are never easy, but when you are assured of her arrival next year, your heart fills with joy, eagerness and hope. Hope for new beginnings, new dreams and new lives.   

Model: Ratrish Saha
Concept and Photography: Raktim Saha
Retoucher: Arnab Dinda
Write up: Obhishek Kar
Styling: Ratul Sarkar 

You can contact the author on Twitter @amu_prasad

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