|Navdurga, © 2018|
The Goddesses in the Hindu pantheon have always fascinated me. They are a bunch of feisty women who don’t take nonsense from anybody. More often than not they are left to their own devices, but when the Gods have really messed up, they get called to clean up the mess. And they do, before going back to juggling the million things they need to do to keep the world going.
Between themselves, the gorgeous Goddesses have faced almost all the issues that normal earth-bound women do, and they have dealt with them with strength, grace and compassion. They are an inspiration to us all.
Probably the most fascinating set of Goddesses are the nine manifestations of Navdurgas worshipped during Navratri. Many artists have payed homage to them during the Navratras, but for many years I was compelled by my severely limited artistic skills in not attempting it myself. Finally, I took the plunge, and this is the series that emerged in 2018.
This year, when I tried to capture their essence with pen and ink, I was not able to. Shilaputri, Brahmacharini, Chandraghanta, Ksumanda, Skandmata, Katyayni, Kalratri, Mahagauri, Siddhidatri. They were not Goddesses, they were ordinary women struggling in a world that makes little sense. They were victims of political games, they were fighting to save their way of life, they were struggling to survive patriarchy. I could not draw them. I wrote their stories instead.
Images © 2018
Stories and poems © 2019