Empowering Girls AND Boys to be Durga

Diwali is almost knocking at the door. Navratri and Durga Puja are festivities that transcend the barriers of religion. It’s an expression of happiness, creativity, spirituality, and above all empowerment. But wait, did you want me to say empowerment of women/girls only? After all, that’s the stereotypical idea that has been associated with these festivals for aeons.

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If we consider ourselves to be progressive, moved by information disseminated through the ever-evolving news mediums, we know by now empowerment is not the territory only for women or girls. Men and our little boys need empowering just as much.

Navratri, after all is the celebration of not only the triumph of female power but essentially of good over evil. During the days of Navratri, we celebrate the ‘gunas’ (the virtues); Rajas, Tamas, and Sattva that are prevalent in every human being. Our body is, essentially, a healthy amalgamation of all these gunas in the perfect balance.

Rajas Guna is the energy and passion that drives our life towards activity, the desire to achieve, be ambitious, and to strive ahead, the excess of which could subsequently bolster greed, selfishness, and self-pride. Tamas Guna on the other hand, symbolizes passivity and ignorance, too much of which almost leads to delusion and lethargy. And lastly, Sattva Guna is about being content, happy, being prudent, and poised. Our lives revolve around striking the right balance of all these virtues. Now tell me, are these attributes specific to any gender? Our little girls and boys – everyone needs to imbibe in themselves these traits and the onus is on us to teach them these, for building a well-rounded and grounded personality.

I ask, what does Durga mean to you?

For me, Durga is the embodiment of fearlessness, righteousness, decisiveness. When I was a little girl standing in a puja pandal looking at the Durga ‘Pratima’ (idol), awestruck by the fierce determination in her eyes, I had one question for my mother every year. What do I need to learn from her? Her words still ring in my ears, “You should learn to be passionate about your dreams, be resolute about what you think is right and stand up for that. If your ambitions call for delving into uncharted territories do not hesitate and come to the foreground and spring into action if a situation warrants so.”

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Is that not what Devi Durga did? Emerging from the role of a consort of the Shakta (the god), the Shakti (the goddess) becomes the all-pervasive power on sensing danger. I don’t know if you did, but I was a child who was ever amazed at how a few idols had a benign expression and a few were rearing with rage. Mom to my rescue here too! She explained the Soumya roop (kind and happy posture) and Rudhra roop {anger posture} co-exists in the same person and it’s the healthy balance of the two that shapes a person.

These values and principles lay the foundation for the making of a resilient, independent, passionate, and conscientious identity. The need of the hour has always been to assimilate the morality and life lessons that the festivals of Navratri and Durga Puja teach us, and that’s irrespective of gender! All would agree, that these are the life fundamentals and we strive to inculcate these in our children.

Then, how is Durga only about women empowerment? Every little boy and girl out there should be empowered to steer through their battles being gutsy and graceful, be dynamic and spirited in leading their lives, imbibe the virtue of patience, empathy, and forgiveness. Just like our very own ‘Maa Durga.’

So every girl and boy, shout out loud, ‘I am a kind soul and a brave heart, I am Durga.’

Hey all, I am Ananya. After graduating from the University of Iowa with a Master’s in Strategic Communication in 2018 I took to freelancing. Currently, I freelance as a SEO Writer. Writing blogs on travel, lifestyle, wellness, and food is my jam though I would love to write a campaign critique on any given day! I write blogs, articles, and sales web copies for websites. And when I am not fretting over a delivery deadline or running errands, I am probably trying to keep up with my ‘always-so-energetic’ 5-year-old girl or indulging in a bit of self-love on the elliptical at Planet Fitness or arranging furniture around the house for my Instagram home decor page YellowPoppyLife. I also hold a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a MBA in Marketing, from India.

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