Worshipping the divine power 'Devi Durga’ in Indian Paintings
The Hindu mythology never falls short of to venerate women power through mythical tales, fables, rituals and festivals. It has reversed feminism over several centuries by worshipping a number of Goddesses. ‘Kali’ is one of the most powerful Goddesses in Hindu religion worshipped as an incarnation of Devi Durga, the supreme deity of women power. ‘Kali Puja’ is the most popular festival in West Bengal to celebrate the victory of good over evil. Contemporary Indian artists portray themes such as ‘women power’, ‘feminism’ and ‘triumph of good over evil’ in the form of Goddess Durga attacking buffalo demon ‘Maheshasura’ with her tiger, with paintings either concrete or abstract.
Goddess Kali shows herself up in several forms as an embodiment of Shakti, the all-powerful energy and cosmic power. She is notorious as the Goddess of Tantrism or Kalu Jadu or Black Magic/Witchcraft. Practitioners of Indian Black Magic use expressive imagery of Kali to perform Pujas as a cure from evil spell, dark forces, etc.
Ma Kali is also hailed as the Goddess of dacoits. But she is also the most celebrated goddess of the common man – the daily wage earner or the middle class people. She is often characterized in images with hanging-out tongue standing over the supreme Hindu deity, Lord Shiva. The tradition of Durga Puja started in the 18th century, but took the extravagant route, like Dusshera, from the 19th century. As Durga Puja became popular with the masses of Bengal, Kali Puja became mainstream during Diwali, the most widely celebrated Indian festival of lights as much as Durga Puja in Bengal.
Goddess Kali will continue to capture the fancy of artists with her munificence, yet terrifying and fearsome physical features, as clear manifestation of the triumph of good over evil/dark forces, besides the dominant symbol of feminism.