Go Swacch this Ganesh Chaturthi

Lord Ganesha has several names – Vighanharta, Vinayak, Avighna, Gunina, Ganadhakshya and many more. Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival to honour the elephant headed God is celebrated with lot of fervor in the western and southern parts of India.

Ganesh Chaturthi – Festival honouring Lord Ganesha

Ganeshotsav is celebrated with lots of fervour and zeal
Ganeshotsav is celebrated with lots of fervour and zeal

Let’s celebrate responsibly

Image Source: Rakshabandhan

Also known as Vinakya Chaturthi, this festival is observed in the month of Bhaadrapada beginning of Shukla Chaturthi and ends on Anant Chaturdashi according to the Hindu calendar (it usually falls in the month of August or September). The festivities last for 10 to 12 days during which idols of Ganesha are worshipped in homes, pandals (temporary public shrines) and temples after which the idols are immersed in water bodies.

Ganesha Chaturthi is celebrated with great enthusiasm in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Kerala in India. It is also celebrated by many living in the UK, USA, Canada, Mauritius, Malaysia and Singapore. The main dish of the festival is modak, believed to be Lord Ganesha’s favourite dish.

Nature vs God

Lake spoiled with PoP Ganesha idols

A lake polluted by PoP Ganesha idols

Image Source: Wikipedia

Lord Ganesha is known by several names Vighanharta is one of them, Vidyavaridhi – Lord of Wisdom is another. The God whose name means ‘wisdom’ and ‘remover of obstacles’ would have never wanted us to pollute Nature and the things we believe were created by God.

Plaster of Paris (PoP) is a popular ingredient for making Ganesha idols in various sizes from ¾ inches to as big as 70 foot tall. It is insoluble in water and is one of the main pollutants in the water bodies causing great harm to marine life. That’s not all, these idols are further adorned with paints which contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium which further cause more water pollution.

The festival signifies the cycle of creation and dissolution in Nature but somewhere down the line it has been commercialised and the true meaning of the festival seems to have been diluted. Isn’t Nature just another manifestation of God? Isn’t it our moral duty to protect what has been given to us by the Almighty?

21 Feet Ecofriendly Ganesha Idol

Koldongricha Vighnaharta - Ganesha Idol made of fibre

Koldongricha Vighnaharta – Ganesha Idol made of fibre

For the first time, this Ganeshotsav will witness a Ganesh idol made up of fiber by Andheri based Kranti Sarvajanik Mandal in Mumbai. It’s an ideal initiative by the mandal to protect and safeguard the environment from pollution, yet retaining the fervor of the festival with a beautiful idol.

This mandal popularly known as ‘Koldongricha Vighnaharta’ in Andheri, Mumbai will be worshipping one of the tallest Ganesh idol (21 feet) made out of ecofriendly material.  The fibre idol is one time investment though the shape and size can be moulded and colours can be changed every year. The clay statues costs somewhere around INR 1.5 to 2 lakhs and then later immersed in water causing a hazard to environment because of the paints and other stuff used to adorn it, on the other hand a  fibre idol can cost around INR 5 lakhs initially but in the long run is saves a lot of money as it is reusable and is environment friendly.

Just to balance public sentiments the mandal brings a small idol made out of clay (clay is soluble in water while PoP is not) which is later immersed in water. After the celebration and ritual of 11 days the statue is packed and kept safely for a year.  No immersion is involved, and then next year it will again be modified with different colours and design and shape.

Talking about this initiative, Abhishek Vyas, treasurer of Kranti Sarvajanik Mandal Andheri said, “We have been celebrating the festival since last 4 decades and we want it to be beneficial to society at large. Hence, we thought of fibre statue which is a onetime investment and completely environment friendly.”

Are you ready to do your bit? It’s time we all save the environment and join the country’s mission of Swacch Bharat Abhiyaan and bid adieu water pollution. Lord Ganesha is watching over you. Be responsible.

You can also read this article on www.askmeontravel.com

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