Social Awareness

“Make Bappa happy by making an Eco-friendly idol and make Tilak Happy for reforms in Ganeshostav”

Mumbai – Ganapati celebration is a festival we don’t forget. The Ganeshstoav is meant to bring people together. To share happiness is atmost important for Unity in Diversity. Considering this viewpoint, freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak (Lokmanya Tilak) incepts the Ganesh festival to bring people together against the British Government.

Ganeshostav is meant for building a relationship with people to keep aside ideological, cultural, and personal differences for the purpose of Unity. It is our responsibility to celebrate Eco friendly Ganeshostav at home and at pandal. The natural eco-system is more important than anything else. Degradation of the environment is creating a massive problem for ecological balance.

Ganeshstoav is majorly celebrated in Maharashtra, especially in the Konkan region and some western parts of India. In the late medieval Bajirao Ballal (Bajirao Peshwa) ruling regime Ganapati celebration started as the ‘God of Brain, Knowledge and creativity ‘celebration. The social celebration of Ganeshostav was started by Lokmanya Tilak for creating national pride and unity in the minds of Indian people against British invaders. The essentials behind Ganapati devotion is briefly narrated in Hindu Mythology.

Unfortunately, the traditional celebration of Ganapati has turned into a commercial event. The mass celebration of Ganapati gave birth to large POP Ganapati Sculptures. Ultimately decorations of Ganesh Pandal, giant sculptures, large DJ’s and Bands. The electrical decorated material, use of Laterite, Usage of “Gulal’ are became part of Ganeshostav. Air, Noise, Environment Pollution, and Degradation takes placed after late 1970’s. Ganapati Mandals was established to meet the needs of working capital for the Ganapati celebration but unfortunately it took ugly shape. The main impact of these changes impacted ecosystem for its imbalance. POP becomes popular for its chemical composition. After immersion, POP dissolves slowly, gradually releasing all these harmful chemicals.

Ingredients like Mercury, Cadmium, Arsenic, Lead, and Carbon are harmful to the water ecosystem, including fish and other species. These materials are not biodegradable and have a hazardous impact on water and the natural ecosystem. The inclusion of chemical of POP (Plaster of Paris) material and dangerous chemical industrial wastage become more hazardous. Also, making Big Ganapati Idol creates rush and traffic problems for society. “Gulal” create an adverse effect on skin-related issues. Also, in a large extent, there are incidents like physical assault, playing vulgar songs, and alcohol consumption in corridor of Pandal. We need to reform our Ganeshostav thoroughly to monitor decency and have an eco-friendly approach.

There are many Ganesh Mandals and families are started to use eco-friendly Ganapati idol to minimise environmental degradation. It is our duty to reduce the risk of medical infection through water ponds. It is also convenient to have a compact size eco–friendly Ganapati for flexible transport and as environment-friendly Idol.

Prittle Prattle News exclusively spoke with Mr.Anand Pendharkar. While commenting on issue the, Mr Anand Pendharkar, Environmentalist & CEO of NGO SPROUTS Environment Trust said “There is a dire need to public awareness and outreach in the initially period leading to Ganesh festival, so that people know what are truly Eco-Friendly Ganapati idols”.

Talking about commercialisation of the festival, he said, “While we need to consider the employment generation aspect behind it, the colors & materials used have to be completely harmless. It is the duty of government agencies to implement the given policies for better natural ecosystems.Also, there are frequent incidents of molestation, misbehavior, and playing vulgar songs in Pandals and during Ganesh Visarjan. The immense rush & closure of roads also creates traffic blockages. There has to be self-realisation and people to take a Proactive approach to stop environmental degradation for preserving our natural ecosystems.”

Madhuri Desouza

Recently Eco-friendly Ganesha idol initiative by school children, School Principal Madhuri Desouza and school teacher Jyoti Gupta in Supari Tank MPS School, Bandra west said, ‘Recent environmental awareness has ushered in a new era of ecofriendly Ganpatis. There has been a significant hike in the number of people opting for idols made from environment friendly, biodegradable materials which reduces the burden of waste on the planet.

Additionally, the government has encouraged the use of specially built water pits for idol immersion which prevents the water bodies from being polluted. It’s also heartwarming to know that a large number of people have also started the practice of visarjan in their homes in a bucket. Step by step we hope to have a completely ecofriendly Ganpati festival in the coming years’.

Mr. Pratik Rajankar

We also spoke with Mr. Pratik Rajankar, 26 years old Art Director Nagpur, said ‘your love should be perfect, not your idol. Creating the creator itself is a divine experience! I have been making small Ganesha idols since childhood and started making them for pooja, especially in lockdown. Old POP idols created a barrier to the environment, which made me question my worship and devotion for Ganesha. These POP idols might look beautiful, but the truth is ugly and disastrous. I think your love should be perfect, not your idol. While making the idols, kids too love and learn to make them. It is also a good way to educate our future generations not just about our culture, but also preserving its purity and mother nature along with it.’

So to conclude, I think the ecosystem reforms and better implementation of the ideal purpose of festival celebration in the minds of Lokmanya Tilak. These reforms by NGOs can take it ahead for futuristic challenges of an environment. It is important to have crystal clear awareness to facilitate better infrastructure for the upcoming Ganeshostav.
This opinion article written by Mohit Soman, Senior Journalist  Prittle Prattle News.
(The opinion expressed in the article are personal )
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