Durga Puja and Singapore’s red light district Geylang.

singapore's red light district.jpg
That is not my picture of Geylang. I picked it up from google images (and hope the author does not mind). But passed the place with my friend, Pratik Bose, on our way to the Ramakrishna Mission Temple in Singapore. Pratik is an ardent follower and I love to visit places of worship of all faiths all over the world. Something about the energy and vibrations that people of ardent faith leave behind that I find energizing. Funny thing about Singapore. this city of malls, order and discipline, turned into something that felt like a suburb of Buenos Aires. Chaotic, streetwise and interesting. And Singapore’s most interesting recent films at Cannes was a docudrama based in Geylang. Street life makes the most interesting films. Pratik, who is Bengali told me this :
“The clay for the image of Mother Durga which is made for the Durga Puja festival is often mixed with clay from various sources to prepare it for worship. One custom is to collect soil from a prostituteís house in the red light district and add it to the mix.. The idea is that the divine mother is present in each woman on earth and each woman is potentially the divine mother, with this theme in mind, even the prostituteís soil constitutes the motherís image which is worshipped during Puja for sake of completion of the earthly image we create for the worship”.

16 Responses to “Durga Puja and Singapore’s red light district Geylang.”

  1. Cinda says:

    all creation is equal…great lesson to learn by,
    judge not ūüôā
    beautiful share,
    Cinda

  2. RajuK says:

    I beleive this was also in the Hindi film “Devdas”. It was not explained why. Thanks for the explanation!

  3. Ritu says:

    This whole thing about ‘mitti’ from a prostitute’s house sounds really filmi – filmi of the Shakti Samanta vintage. If it is really true, what is the point? You abuse the woman, prostitute her body and soul and then you go and collect clay from her home to deify her. Why? Guilt? Why the need to deify? Why not just let her be human and treat her like a human?
    This whole clay from the house of the prostitute reminds me of Sahir’s hard hitting – ‘Aurat ne janam diya mardon ko’.
    P.S Gulal was a fantastic movie btw and the ode to Sahir was outstanding. Also on an unrelated note, sad to hear Shakti Samanta passed way. The end of an era.

  4. austere says:

    I thought you knew this.

  5. DQ says:

    Very Well said
    .
    .
    ‘Ritu’
    .
    Cheers!

  6. Pratima says:

    Shekhar,
    I am not sure if the interpretation you mentioned is the only one. I have made ample visits to Kumortuli in Calcutta where all the imgaes of Durga Ma is made. The Kumors (people who make the idol) say that the earth or mud from Prostitute’s threshold is mixed, because it is assumed that when the man steps on that or crosses the threshold, he leaves all his good qualities there and steps inside. Hence the earth there is considered so pure, and Durga Pratima or the idol will never be complete if that earth is not a part of the Goddess’.
    Thanks
    PC.

  7. kavitha says:

    I Donít Know…
    i donít know what She has
    when i know what i want
    i donít know what She can give
    when i know what i should get
    i donít know what She sees
    when i know what i can show
    i donít know if She cares
    when I know i have to bare
    i donít know if She can hear
    when i say i just canít bear
    but i know She knows
    what i donít know
    for, in her sublime presence
    i can feel the radiance
    and, when Sheís around me
    i have the energy
    to be the energy
    I just know…

  8. AJ says:

    Sad but true …
    1st men use them as pro
    later worship them
    … hypocrisy …
    How many people ever think
    Why world was created ?
    What is the fundamental truth ?
    What is the purpose of life ?
    Why we are here on this earth ?
    I wonder why most people live like a cog in the wheel

  9. Cinda says:

    pure, what is that?
    Does purity come with conditions or judgements?
    Purity is in the intention and thought…total awareness, being totally in the moment, no matter what “the matter” consists of
    Just a thought:)

  10. AJ says:

    WHAT ABOUT THE CHILD HINDU GODDESS IN NEPAL…
    SHE’S CONSIDERED UNLUCKY ONCE SHE HITS PUBERTY
    AND THEN SHE’S RESIGNED TO UNDIGNIFIED FATE OF PROSTITUTION…SINCE NO MAN WILL MARRY HER !
    THINK ALOUD !

  11. Rudra says:

    Cinda,
    Intention and thought is the primal impurity !
    You have to go deeper than your definition – which of course requires more than just intellectual understanding.
    It takes some divine / higher revelation or knowledge to know of our true being – for example Yoga Sutras or Bhagawad Gita.
    Thought and Intention is in the realm of the Mind and Mind itself is a product of the divisive consciousness.
    The moment Mind engages the senses or the past information of the senses via memory , that is impurity .
    This is the revealed Vedic(hindu) knowledge.

  12. brahmastra says:

    What a fantastic tradition!

  13. Mee says:

    hmmm enlightening…

  14. Cinda says:

    Wow Rudra,
    sounds like you know a lot.
    I don’t, still just a baby on subjects such as these.
    Silly me, I think everyone and everything is pure, pure energy…in whatever state it or they are in.
    If it’s moving slow fast, mixed with one chemical or a thousand…still “energy”
    A mountain grows (or changes), as with “EVERYTHING”…but how many of us think that way?
    Pure?
    Sounds like the difference between a weed and a flower…judgement.
    We all are a part of all that there is…no matter what we are called, goddess, king, prostitute, murderer, queen, student, healer…
    I’m not very good at explaining my meaning…so if this comes across confusing, sorry.
    Cinda

  15. Sidhusaaheb says:

    I do not wish to offend any one, especially with respect to their religious beliefs, but a question that does arise in my mind is that what if there were no prostitutes and all women lived honourable lives (as I believe, every woman has the right to, instead of having to sell their souls, along with their bodies, for any reason whatsoever)?

  16. Prodyut Paul says:

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