Kolkata: With Durga pooja festivities underway across the country, West Bengal's Transgender community has organised a special Durga Puja by offering prayers to a unique Durga Idol 'Ardh Nariswar'. The idol is a depiction a half Lord Shiva and half Goddess Parvati. In celebratory spirits, the members of the community were seen wearing colourful sarees and bindis, as they offered 'bhog' and 'Arti' to the unique idol.
"The Supreme Court has abolished Section 377, but we are unable to fulfil our basic needs including health and education. Hence, we are offering prayers to Ardh Nariswar idol so that we get our rights. It is a unique idol, which is not found everywhere", said Ranjita Sinha, a member of the Association of Transgender, West Bengal.
Speaking about the importance of Durga Pooja for the community, Anuradha Sinha, a member of the Association of Transgender in West Bengal, said:
"Durga Puja is the only occasion when we get time to enjoy with our community people. We are really enjoying this occasion. The puja we offer to the unique idol here is different." She also said that the community has arranged entirely everything for the Durga Pooja. "Some members are busy cooking the 'bhog' while some are taking care of the decorations. This idol has been decorated by my mother," she added.
Last year, the transgender community had also organised a Durga Pooja. The pooja was all-inclusive with all sections of the society. “I wanted a safe haven for members of the community to enjoy themselves, without the harassment,” said Ranjitha who is a member of West Bengal Transgender Board and a transgender activist.
This year, Durga Pooja celebrations have seen a rise of 'unique' pandals. Organisers in Varanasi recently designed a Pandal with 'Chandrayaan-2' as their concept. Another such Pandal was seen in West Bengal, the Pandal was designed by Kolkata's Chetla Agrani Club designed a 'Letterbox' pandal that was decorated with letterboxes, old telephones, typewriters etc.
(With ANI inputs)