(This story was first published on 11 October 2018. It has been reposted from The Quint’s archives to mark the celebration of Durga Pujo.)
Writer & Producer: Ishadrita Lahiri
Camera and Direction: Abhay Sharma & Tridip Mandal
Creative Producer: Puneet Bhatia
It’s that (only) time of the year when Indian society, at large, is going to be at the feet of a woman – Goddess Durga.
Since time immemorial, Durga has been seen as a messiah for the downtrodden. A woman who destroyed a Demon God when all the other Gods failed, in spite of their superlative powers.
Basically, she is a woman who achieved the unbelievable, in a pantheon of male Gods.
But who is Durga? A Goddess first, or a woman? And what does she represent? Just divinity, or power?
At Quint Neon, we looked through the news of the past year to find the real-life Durgas who have fought and conquered when all the odds were placed against them.
While we must admit that we were SPOILT for choices, given the number of amazing women who won in various spaces, leaving patriarchy and societal mariyadas behind – we narrowed down four for this video:
- Athlete Hima Das who, inspite of gender and poverty, became the first Indian athlete to win a gold medal in a track event at the IAAF World U20 Championships.
- DJ Varnika Kundu, who spoke out against a minister’s son from Chandigarh, who stalked her in his car in the middle of the night. Her fight also created a new discourse around stalking laws in the country.
- Hadiya, or Akhila Ashokan, who fought for a woman’s right to choose her own life, religion and partner.
- The fearless nun from Kerala who spoke out against a Bishop, who allegedly raped her 13 times in 2 years, shaking the community and sparking a strong debate on protection of women against religious “leaders”.
However, while this video does talk about these specific women, it is not just about them. It is about all those women – all those Durgas – who are fighting against power in their own little ways, every single day. After all, every woman is Durga, and she doesn’t need the 10 days of Durga Puja to show her powers.
This video is a tribute to those women. And every other woman who is fighting the good fight, with or without societal support.