The Abandoned Goddess

Calcutta is full of symbols. Or at least that’s what I feel, when I look out of the window. I can’t tell whether it’s because I’m essentially still a foreigner trying to understand this place or whether I’m just trying to read too much into what the general population take for granted.

This morning, on the way to school with my daughter, we came across an abandoned idol of Kali, the goddess of destruction and righteousness! Our driver tells me that idols are only dumped in Calcutta and everywhere else they are immersed into the sea or nearest river, with ceremony and reverence. Does that mean that Calcutta is less reverent towards the holy? Have the Hindus, this side of the Ganges decided that nothing is to be revered, not even the idea of a dignified farewell?

Perhaps I’m missing the point though, when I see her standing amidst the mud and waste of ongoing construction work, disheveled and alone. I’ve personified her, when in actual fact she really is just a symbol for the destruction of evil…What I mean to say is that idols, images are only representations of what we choose to believe. Once their purpose is served, we can discard them. What remains holy is the idea, not the image.


But I could not help feeling a little sorry for the abandoned Goddess in her rags. For all her rage and strength, she was still alone. I don’t know, perhaps she prefers it that way.


11 thoughts on “The Abandoned Goddess

  1. I agree Dev, why are the idols worshipped one minute and discarded the next? The image is no longer holy…. is that because for some the idea is no longer holy? People are switching the faith button on and off too often. There must be an alternative to the situation rather than just dumping the idols? I know of some villages in Punjab, sacred images are cremated respectively rather than discarded. The ashes are then scattered during prayer. Is this a more dignified ‘off-load’ of images? Too many questions and not enough answers.

    • I agree, faith is a convenience. I must admit, i’m guilty of it too. I like the idea of the idols being cremated in Punjab, at least there is some thought and ceremony during the whole process. But yes, lots of questions…but i don’t necessarily think we need the answers. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. I think answers are important… why else would the question ever come into our head? What’s the use of questioning something and then not wanting a resolution? Too much early morning deep thinking me thinks!! xx

  3. Monty, Frankly, it does not bother me. For, it is more, an event to the people here. Any puja for that reason. Did’nt you see thay make Durga idols with all sundry items in the name of art. Did you during your pandal hoppiing, notice an iota of sincere invocation. It is a symbol. It is a socio-economic function where we revel for the day/days. It is a money- making ocassion.So as you stay longer, yu will get used to such sights. So Do not despair.
    When parents are left abandoned by their so called educated children in the pursuit of career and such stories are heard a dozen a day, are you concrned about the idols left in the mud. Oh Comeon.
    Kemon Acho
    Bhalo Theko

    • Gosh, that sounded like an angry response. I’m not worried about it as such, just wondering why? but if you’re saying that it’s just because these idols represent just a commercial need for religion, i’ll take your word for it. but deep down, i’d like to have a little more faith in human faith. 🙂

  4. We all live by faith and trust. We believe, that our children is our investment. We trust them. The Old home tells a different tale. A friend of mine, post- retirment decided to venture into this opportunity market.So to just test the soil, he did put up a small add for potential clients. And he was flooded with enquries, in three days , there were 100 in que.I beliver, in days to come, it will swell to 1000. I visited an old home recenetly to get a story, and you know, I was asked ” Could i not run a campaign for euthanasia after one crosses 70 years!!!!! Is this the faith,you are banking on and term” human faith’
    You know Monty, we all crowd temples and pilgim centres led by a staunch and unshakable faith that there lies the salvation, a dip during MahaKumbh at Sangam and all your sins are atoned, You are on a clean slate, whitewashed by Aeriel, clamouring” Dekho Daag Nahin”.This is human faith!!!!!
    Do not loose faith for we all live by FAITH,

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