It is that time of the year, when devotees across the country in general and those living in the state of Maharashtra in particular, celebrate the most awaited festival, the Ganesha Chaturthi. Surrounded by much fanfare, the creative aspect of the human mind comes to the fore as more and more people come up with unprecedented ideas every year. Right from spreading awareness about the use of eco-friendly idols and the various drives to clean up the beaches during immersion, to the most innovative ways of making idols, the year 2012 has witnessed many novel instances worth glancing at. Let us take a look at what was so special about the Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations, this year.
The most striking feature, post idol immersion, was the level by which the Plaster of Paris (PoP) litter has come down this year. The sight of broken pieces of PoP has always been usual at various beaches in Mumbai. But with aggressive campaigns supporting the use of eco-friendly idols, this year’s celebration has led to less litter in the city. This year, the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) has successfully sold as many as fifty thousand eco-friendly idols to the people. In an interview with DNA (Daily News and Analysis), Mumbai, the member secretary of MPCM talked about how they have been making rigorous efforts to spread awareness about the harmful effects of using other forms of idols. He says, “Idols made of PoP take months to dissolve in waterleading to water pollution and litter in the beaches. Though there are strict laws with respect to water pollution, certain limitations come into play during grand festivals such as these. The only way to get the message across is via campaigns.”
“This year we sold fifty thousand eco-friendly idols from all the 45 distribution outlets spread across Pune, Kolhapur, Nagpur, Nashik, Aurangabad and the rest of the state,” he further adds.
Celebrities and students have also been contributing immensely to this cause. Actress Kajol encouraged Mumbaikars to buy eco-friendly Ganapati idols this year. Actress Rani Mukherjee also showed enthusiasm by being a part of the annual cultural festival called Kaleidoscope conducted by Sophia College for Women, Mumbai. She talked to the students about the importance of resorting to eco-friendly idols. Actress Kareena Kapoor also showed her support in preserving the environment by participating in DNA’s eco-friendly Ganesha initiative.
With the drive and campaigns in full swing, the students of RD National College set an example before the city by volunteering to clean up the debris in Juhu beach during and after the idol immersion. A group comprising seven students belonging to BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media), gathered a huge crowd of students who were willing to clean up the mess. In collaboration with BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation), the students collected garbage in over 100 bags. Such initiatives by students not only show the level of awareness among but also the dedication and sincerity with which they do their bit in keeping the city clean.
Apart from the eco-friendly drive, another striking feature of this year’s Ganesha Chaturthi celebration was Mr. Mohan Kumar Dodecha’s unique tribute to the Lord. The 66-year-old made a Ganpati Rangoli from Sabudana (Sogo) at Mulund, making it both to the Limca Book of Records and the Guiness Book of Records. The Rangoli was designed using 60 kg of Sabudana coloured in different shades.
Yet another instance of Innovative Ganesha idols was found at Hypercity stores in Mumbai. A strikingly vibrant idol of artifial Cadbury Gems Ganesha was set up at all the hypercity stores in the city. The idols that stood five feet tall were made using artificially created gemsof six different colours. The collection was exclusive and affordable.
As can be seen, the Ganesha Chaturthi Celebrations are no more the same as they used to be a decade ago, as more and more people have decided to take a turn for the good. The celebrations are bettering themselves not only in terms of grandeur and innovation but level of responsibility as well.
NEEL KAMAL MISHRA
SOPHIA COLLEGE FOR WOMEN