Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter

photo-Arnab mitra

By Arnab Mitra

Kolkata: With conch shell giving out a clarion call marking the arrival of Durga puja, the self proclaimed ‘civilized’ mass of the society seems to do a volteface with the rituals forcing them to pay a visit to the den of the sex-workers to get the clay needed for making the Durga idol.

The holy Puran directs the use of four mandatory ingredients – mud from the banks of the Ganges, urine of cow, cow dung and soil from a prostitute’s home for sculpting the idol.

photo-Arnab mitra

photo-Arnab mitra


According to Hindu mythology, Mahisashur, the devil, triggered Devi Durga’s wrath with his wicked attempt to harass her in the battleground. Durga, however, vanquished Mahisashur and since then her idol is worshiped as a celebration of the victory of good over evil. In Ramayana, at the time of Akalbodhan, Lord Ram used the soil taken from a prostitute’s home name Ambalika to make Durga idol.

photo-Arnab mitra

photo-Arnab mitra

The Punya mati (sacred soil):

It is believed that when a person steps inside the home of a prostitute, he leaves behind his purity and virtue and enters into the carnal world of sin. The soil, which has retained the virtue and purity is therefore used for sculpturing the holy idol.

photo-Arnab mitra

photo-Arnab mitra

The custom, once initiated by Lord Rama, is followed with utmost sincerity in West Bengal whose biggest festival is the Durga Puja. Priests visit the brothels to ‘beg’ for the clay which is used as the first touch to the idol and also during the concluding ceremony.

The voice of the derived:

Feeling alienated, one sex-worker from Kolkata’s red light area lamented that despite every idol in Kolkata having clay from their ‘forbidden land’, the society does not approve of their participation in the festivities.

However, for the last three years, the land of the forbidden is blessed with the presence of the Durga idol as they have been organizing a puja in their very own campus. This year they have moved a step further as they fought a legal battle to get the permission to organize their puja in hall run by the Kolkata Municipal corporation.



When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

ALSO READ: Can You Drink Coffee While You're Pregnant?

"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

Keep Reading Show less

It's not surprising that over half of those surveyed feel more comfortable using emojis than talking on the phone or in person.

The tiny emojis being shared on billions of devices worldwide can play a major role in digital communication, with most people saying that emoji compels them to feel more empathy towards others, according to an Adobe report.

Adobe's global emoji study found that emoji even helps people overcome language barriers and form connections that would otherwise be difficult to do.

"We were surprised and delighted by the discoveries made in the survey, most notably how enthusiastic respondents were for emoji as a means to express themselves," the company said in a statement.

ALSO READ: Emoji- A Choice for Interracial Couple

Emojis sometimes get criticized for being overly saccharine, but this sweetness is key when it comes to diffusing some of the heaviness of online communication.

"Many of the emoji are focused on positive emotions, so it's easy to insert them into our conversations and lighten the mood," the Adobe study said.

Keep Reading Show less
Wikimedia Commons

Jeff Bezos at the ENCORE awards.

Following the grand Richard Branson show where he carried Andhra Pradesh-born Sirisha Bandla and fellow space travelers on his shoulders after successfully flying to the edge of space, it is time for Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos to applaud Sanjal Gavande, one of the key engineers who designed the New Shephard rocket set to take Bezos and the crew to space on July 20.

Billionaire Bezos is set to fly to the edge of space aboard what is touted as the world's first unpiloted suborbital flight. Born in Kalyan, Maharashtra, Gavande is a systems engineer at Blue Origin who always dreamt of designing aerospace rockets.

ALSO READ: Jeff Bezos Used To Review Products On Amazon

After completing Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the University of Mumbai, she flew to the US in 2011 to pursue a Master's in mechanical engineering from the Michigan Technological University. She also applied for an engineering job at the US space agency NASA but finally landed her dream job at Blue Origin

Keep reading... Show less