Durga puja street graffiti narrates sex workers’ tale

Kolkata: A street graffiti dedicated to the life and struggle of the sex workers was unveiled by a Durga Puja organiser in north Kolkata on Monday.

The graffiti, painted on a 300 feet long stretch of road in Ahiritola area, tells the tale of hardships and the circumstances that force a woman to get into the flesh trade.

“Our aim is to spread awareness among people to highlight the life and struggle of a sex worker,” Uttam Saha, working president of the Ahritolata Jubakbrinda Durga puja committee.

It has been designed on the lives of inmates of the brothel at Sonagachhi, stated to be Asia’s largest red light area, which is around 1 km away from Ahiritola.

Interestingly, soil from a brothel is an essential ingredient for the making of a Durga idol.

“Both lively and gloomy colours were used in the graffiti illustrating various shades of the life of a sex worker,” said artist Soumen Sarkar, who took part in the project.

“A woman becomes a sex worker either due to trafficking or for the sake of running her family. She is also a mother, who despite all odds, takes care of her children and family. There can’t be disparity when we celebrate womanhood in the form of goddess Durga,” Manas Roy, another artist, said.

From a door with three women peeping from inside, to a distorted ‘kumkum’ line on a woman’s forehead signifying her tragedy — the graffiti depicted the touching story of this community, Sarkar said.

“We are really happy that such a theme has been taken up by the puja committee depicting our lives and struggles,” Santana Das of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee said.

Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee is an umbrella organisation of the state’s sex workers having more than 1,30,000 registered members.