An eco-friendly Ganesh Utsav
In recent times, Ganesh Utsav festivities in Pune have adapted to environmental concerns, says Rasika Dhavse.
September 2004 - Puneites are passionate about Lord Ganesh. The Ganesh Utsav (Ganesh festival) in Pune is marked by an emotion so intense that it almost resembles mass hysteria. During utsav days, the Lord becomes family, to be worshipped with utmost love and devotion, before he is tearfully bid adieu on the last day of Anant Chaturdashi. In addition to the celebration of the festival at the individual family level, the Sarvajanik (common) Ganesh Utsav sees the involvement of housing societies, commercial and social organizations, and the city as a whole. People throng to the public installations, not just to bow their heads in reverence, but also to check out the latest decorations and tableaux. The Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav was spearheaded by Lokmanya Tilak during the British rule as a channel to create social awareness amongst the masses. What is unique to Pune is that the city works hard to ensure that the festival retains this socio-cultural identity along with its religious significance. Over the years, the Ganesh Utsav has held a mirror to society, with its tableaux reflecting current social themes such as AIDS, population control, the Kargil War, political farces, major sports events, and even 9/11! Hence, it comes as no surprise that gradually the festival has donned a distinct green look, in keeping with the burning issue of our times – environment. Pic: Punediary.com
In the last four to five years, Puneites have become increasingly conscious of the impact of the Ganesh festival on the environment. Over time, it was noticed that on immersion, the plaster of Paris (PoP) as well as the chemical paints used in the making of the idols were polluting the Mula-Mutha rivers, which are the major sources of water supply to the city. Moreover, as the PoP does not dissolve easily, large and small idols surface in the...
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