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Shonagachhi sex workers celebrate Durga Puja in a different way!

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For decades, they have fought for many marginalized issues alongside their own, and now, they have decided to take up environmental issues. The sex-workers’ organization is planning to spread awareness about the gradual disintegration of the planet through the festival that illuminates all nooks and crannies of India, and beyond -- Durga Puja. The seventh puja organised by the association in Shonagachhi, the infamous Red-Light district of Kolkata, is the first year that the puja is centered around a theme. Theme maker Ratan Dolui, 29-year-old son of sex workers, is busy with the draperies and design of the mandap.

It can be asked that with the innumerable hardships faced by this marginalized community, why have sex workers decided to focus on environmental pollution, and not the difficulties and misfortunes of the faction? Well, the Secretary of the Poor Women's Committee of the organization says that through newspapers and televisions, they get to know about the planet's horrifying condition, and therefore, steps must be taken to improve. These steps are being upheld in the pandal to propagate awareness. 

The association had to work to the bone to make Durga Puja in the area a reality -- which meant countless trips to the High Court to smooth out the innumerable snags that came up at every turn. No wonder the previous pujas weren't very concerned with the usual pomp and glamour attached to the festival -- they had to give their blood, sweat and tears to make the puja happen in the first place. This year, the festival will be used to signify something so vital to our existence -- awareness, and steps taken to correct environmental pollution. Working on a shoestring budget, the association has organized a mandap on a smaller scale, which will still get the point across to people. However, it is certainly a lot of work for the 29-year-old, who is working tirelessly, with a million problems cropping up here and there.

The money left from the budget will be donated to buy clothes for the poor and old members of the sex workers' community, and other charitable causes. 

After all, if we don't mend the present, there will be no future to look out for.

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