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Durga Puja and Prostitutes – Why Mud from Sex Workers Homes is collected During Durga Puja?

Goddess Durga Murti (idol) made during Durga Puja is incomplete without the soil from the house of a sex worker. The belief is that the soil should be begged for and received from a prostitute’s hand as a gift or blessing. The soil is then used in the preparation of Goddess Durga Murti which is worshipped during Durga Puja. But why mud from sex workers homes is collected during Durga Puja?

The mud is collected because those people who visit the prostitutes for sex leave their purity and virtue outside the door thus making the soil in front of the home of a prostitute virtuous.

The soil is known as ‘punya mati’ and the place where a prostitute resides is known as ‘nishiddho pallis’ in Bengali meaning forbidden territories.

The mud is collected by the person who makes the idol a month earlier before the Durga Puja festivities begin.

The belief is that Goddess Durga would be displeased if those who worship Her do not take the blessings of the prostitutes.

This custom is restricted to Bengal. Goddess Durga Murti made in other regions does not strictly follow this custom.

People might have included this custom to include people who are outcasts during an important festival. Prostitutes who are not welcomed by the majority of the society are given importance through this act.

But the whole custom is filled with hypocrisy. Majority of the prostitutes are the product of an insensitive male dominated society who treats women as just sex objects. We pray to Goddess Durga for her blessings but conveniently ignore exploitation of women and male dominance over women.

The society that goes to collect mud from the doorstep of a prostitute conveniently forgets for the rest of the year that they exist in the society. They are kept out of festivities and family functions. They are trampled and left to live in filth.

Those who want mud from the door step of sex worker in the Durga Puja murti should also have the courage to go to their door step and do something to improve their living condition.