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What you may not know about Ganesh Festival: An appeal !

[Note: I had written this article in September 19, 2007, but I am reproducing this again before Ganesh Festival, so that you will take proper precautionary measures while buy Ganesh Idols. The links in the article are not working anymore, but the information in the post is very pertinent. Please spread the word]

Ganesh Festival is really a time for festivities; it slowly starts to get Indian people into festive season mood that spans till end of Diwali. If you live in cities like Pune and Mumbai, you will know the kind of celebration that happens for 10 straight days. The streets are overflowing with people to see the beautifully decorated Ganesh Idols. The roads are closed at night, loud music and expansive lighting greets you everywhere.

At the end of 10 days, the Ganesh idol immersion is done with even bigger processions. It’s like a carnival. Dhol and Tasha sounds fill the air.

What happens next ?
Have a look…

ganesh5 | What you may not know about Ganesh Festival: An appeal !ganesh2 | What you may not know about Ganesh Festival: An appeal !

ganesh1 | What you may not know about Ganesh Festival: An appeal !ganesh3 | What you may not know about Ganesh Festival: An appeal !

Source: Ultrabrown

The sight of these Ganesh Idols is appalling. To be honest I could not even see the pictures, it is so awful. Seeing the Ganesh Idols lying on the shores like these, whom we worship all our lives is mind boggling. Thanks to Ultrabrown blog to bringing this pictures up.

This post is an appeal to Trakin readers to spread the awareness and importance of using Environmentally friendly Ganapati Idols. Read this…

The idols are made out of Plaster of Paris(PoP), which casts typically disintegrated water, thus making it necessary to be non-suitable for bathing, showering, or other activities involving contact with water. In addition, Plaster of Paris casts are not air permeable, and thus do not allow for the circulation of air beneath the cast which greatly facilitates the evaporation and removal of moisture trapped between cast and skin. This often leads to skin maceration, irritation, or infection.

These idols are then painted with ‘some’ dyes which contain poisonous elements like lead,mercury,carbon and cadmium.

In Mumbai alone every year 70-80 thousand Ganpati idols are immersed at about 50 different places during Ganesh Chaturthi resulting in huge amount of pollution. This polluted water is a threat not only to water creatures, but to us equally.

*** Do you know that photography is not allowed the next day at the beaches where immersion takes place? If you ask why then that’s because the beaches are full of desecrated idols, decaying flowers and dead fish the next day, and the Government tries its best to hide this from media and other activists.***

EcoGanapati is an initiative by bunch of guys from fropper. I wish them all the best in this initiative and I am sure Indian bloggers will join this cause, spread awareness and sign the petition that they have put up.

Here is the message from EcoGanapti:

Since internet is one of the greatest sources available in the modern world, it will assist us in spreading knowledge, escalating the matter and, thus, a greater and a purer revelry.

So, what we intend to do is:

  • Spread knowledge
  • Seek public interest
  • Learn more ways and ideas of celebrating the occasion with more purity
  • Share the results of this activity with the Government, the Mayors of Mumbai and Pune and the other concerned authorities.
    *** I intend to take print-out of the Petition page and, personally, deliver it to the concerned ministers and the Mayors.***

    Also, the matters will not end with just submitting the petition, I will keep on updating about the action being taken by the authorities in this matter and will follow up diligently.

What you can do is:

  • Participate
  • Spread knowledge
  • Learn more ways  and ideas of celebrating the occasion with more purity.

Please also check Relevant Links page to read more about this and to learn how to make eco-friendly Ganesha idols at home.

So, please do sign the petition and leave your comments. The onus lies on us to make a difference with whatever resources we have. For suggestions, or if you are interested in joining this awareness campaign, please leave me a mail at ecoganpati@gmail.com.

Again, sign the petition and help the cause.

bloggers Blogging celebration culture dhol diwali Ecofriendly-Idols environment festival festivals festive season ganesh idols Ganesh-Chaturthi Ganesh-Visarjan Ganpati-Idols Indian Indian Ganesh Festival | India cultural celebrations | Indian-Festivals Indians journalism loud music making-of-idols paris pop petition plaster of paris pollution precautionary measures religion skin maceration straight days
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About Arun Prabhudesai

Arun Prabhudesai is founder / chief editor at trak.in. He jumped the Entrepreneurship bandwagon in early 2008 after a long 13 year stint in I.T Industry. You can follow him on twitter @trakin and Facebook. Arun’s Google+ Profile

25 comments

  1. Minakshi Upadhyay

    thanx 4 spreading this awareness.seriously we have to be conscious abt following our traditions by not harming our environment.

  2. the ganesh puja as it is celebrated now.I beg to differ.I ask you just one question would you dig up a persons grave to get a clue as to how he lived or get a glimse at his life style or his thoughts,messages,preachings and realizations.I guess not, i pull this metaphor because The aftermath of the puja pictures DO NOT reflect the pomp and gaity in which the puja was performed.It DOES NOT reflect the faith and belief that each one has as he bows down in reverence to the deity.Ganesh puja has its origins in the hindu mythology which is possibly the most oldest in the world.It has been proved time and again that the seemingly superstious beliefs are not totally illogical but rather have very scietific foundation as have been increasingly discovered now.Please keep the thread alive with your points of view.

  3. is the inportant water pollution.

  4. is the inportant water pollution.

  5. The passion for the festival is as great and dedicated as any. So many cultures coming together to celebrate is truly a great sight. No wonder our land impresses travelers from lands beyond. However, all this celebration does come at a price. We need a better understanding of matter and its impact on the Eco-system. There needs to be a more responsible way to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi for a cleaner, greener way of offering prayers to the Lord.

  6. Siddharth Pandey

    Hi Arun, That’s a very good article u have written & I see many people agree with you. I agree too. We must be concerned about our environment. But just wrting blogs about it sitting in U.S will not do any good. Ganesha festival will still be carried out here in India & immersions will take place, Your blog is not going to have any effect whatsoever. A special holiday season offer where u get 50% off on the channels. Hurry offer valid till 31st dec 09 only http://www.watchindia.tv/landingpage/1008/specialHolidayPack_ft_box_ht.aspx

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  8. What are practical solutions? 1. Trying to find eco-friendly idols…Where are they available in Pune? Anyone knows? 2. Don’t submerge the idols into water after 1 days. Re-use them for 4-5 years. We do this at our home.

  9. Point well made. How do we manage our tradition/faith concurring with the ecology? We useGanpati’s made of clay which probably dont pose that much a problem. Why made of Clay? 1] Enrvironment friendly 2] The fact that while making POP Ganpati’s there are put in a kiln before painting.

  10. I totally agree with shivakanth. hindu religion is based on idols. I’m not really satisfied with ecofriendly ganesh. it kinda disturbs the honour that we give to lord ganesh by immersing him into the large sea bodies, made by him rather than the artificial ponds. well as shivankanth said, mumbai is polluted with other festivals and public too. why destroy only the integrity of our tradition? You can focus on other aspects of pollution rather than playing with people’s strong beliefs in this festival.

  11. Its a misconception to believe that you are the doer.We are just actors.

  12. IAM VERY SORRY TO SAY THIS IN NOTHING THAN A FOOLS PLAY IS IT RIGHT DISSOLVING THE CREATER . WHEN U MAKE AN IDOL U BECOME A CREATER AND WHEN U DISSOLVE IT U BECOME THE DISTROYER SO FINALLY U PROVED THAT UR GOD IF SO ITS RIGHT

  13. Hi Trakin, This is indeed an eye-opener. although I knew abt the hazards of the PoP idols but the pictures were something i never imagined. To see those beautiful idols lying in such a mess is really disheartening. I m surely with you in this campaign. Thanking you, Regards, Tasqeen

  14. Hey, your blog has such a reach and audience..you should be part of Blog Action Day for writing post about the environment. You could check it out at http://blogactionday.org/. It is non-profit initiative.

  15. Do you have figures,Is this damage comparable to the industrial wastes dumped year long into the rivers,seas and oceans or green house gas emission into the air by industries of developed countries or plastic disposals into the oceans.Maybe the international events such as olympics the 4th of july celebrations and christmas celebrations should also be stopped because of the emission of dangerous gas emissions into the air and the total waste of resources and millions of dollars while millions suffer of death hunger and starvation in the developing and underdeveloped countries. I am not even quoting figures but even a layman could see the point.Please keep the thread alive with your points of view.

    • Shivakanth, Unfortunately, Ganesha will not be there to help or for that matter any god in whose name we conveniently pollute all rivers and oceans, when the after effects of pollution starts having adverse effects on the basic lifestyle of the people. Religion/faith is not an excuse.. Why immerse the idols in the ocean. Why not use a trashing facility to trash the idols in a environment friendly way. They get trashed in water anyways, so it shouldnt affect the feeling or faith of the people who believe in it. Our Diwali celebration, causes air pollution, noise pollution and staggering deaths around the country.. but people continue celebrating in the same manner in the name of FAITH..thats no excuse..There are the sick, the new-born kids and the old people who get severely affected due to the high sound levels the fireworks produce. The effect of high noise levels on small children has been known to cause physical health damages as well. Children from noisy residences often possess a heart rate that is significantly higher (by 2 beats/min on average) than in children from quieter residences…BUT who cares about them. FAITH is more important i guess.. Yes, there are festivals like 4th of July festivals in the US that used to emit pollution, but starting last few years, these fireworks have gone environmental friendly .. they produce little to no smoke when lighted..There is no noise pollution as the fireworks only produce beautiful patterns of light, no sound. Also, nobody in the US is allowed to light the fireworks outside their house or on the road. They are zones(areas) marked firework safe and they can be used to light the fireworks..Also this needs written permission from the county they live in. Blaming on each other (the industries) will get us nowhere, everybody needs to do his/her bit.. that’s the only way to go..

  16. Trakin Wrote “Although, Idol worship is part of Hinduism since the start, however, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations have started as late as 20th century. In the start of 20th century Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a well known patriot and catalyst of Indian freedom movement, started Ganesh festival in order to bring the entire society together to bond them with the strongest relations that can be nourished through the festive events and celebrations like these.”And i reflected, is’nt it amazing how efficient these events such as festivals,sports events and adventure activities are at achieving their similar objective, like you rightly said unifying people.Even though i am with you on the POP issue i ithink clay diety are appropriate.Please keep the thread alive with you points of view. Thanking You Regards Shivakanth

  17. Hi Trakin, Thank you for you your quick response.I guess you will also be oposed to the following festivals for the following reasons. Diwali:-for polluting the air and leaving torn pictures of gods on the streets Holi:-For polluting the air water and direct contact of chemical with the skin Dushera:-Burning of huge effigies of Rakshas And the list would be endless. But i would like to bring to your notice that Green Peace which is the prime and most rigorous environmental friendly organization surely doesnt have these festivals on their agenda.They are more concerned with Nuclear wastes Oil spills and Bio hazard disposals which i think are more dangerous than the above mentioned concerns.Please keep the thread alive with your points of view. Thanking you Regards Shivakanth

  18. Sivakanth, Thank you for dropping by and leaving the comment. Let me first clarify, that this post in no way says that Ganesh Puja is a wasteful exercise. No not at all. I am in US and do Poojas and Aartis for 10 days and will keep doing it all my life. This post was an appeal to readers to join the cause for usage of environment friendly Ganapatis. Yes, the broken Ganesh idols in no way is a reflection of our faith and puja that we do. However, it is an intense experience to see these idols in this form to which you have worshipped. Not only that, these PoP idols can cause lot of damage to sea creatures as well an humans… Although, Idol worship is part of Hinduism since the start, however, Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations have started as late as 20th century. In the start of 20th century Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, a well known patriot and catalyst of Indian freedom movement, started Ganesh festival in order to bring the entire society together to bond them with the strongest relations that can be nourished through the festive events and celebrations like these. Again, the reason for this post was to spread the word around regarding the petition for noble cause of restricting pollution. I hope that clarifies your points…

  19. Hi All, I checked the web site and found it very informative and eye opening.But since more than one of you has taken the stance that it is indeed a wasteful excercise, the ganesh puja as it is celebrated now.I beg to differ.I ask you just one question would you dig up a persons grave to get a clue as to how he lived or get a glimse at his life style or his thoughts,messages,preachings and realizations.I guess not, i pull this metaphor because The aftermath of the puja pictures DO NOT reflect the pomp and gaity in which the puja was performed.It DOES NOT reflect the faith and belief that each one has as he bows down in reverence to the deity.Ganesh puja has its origins in the hindu mythology which is possibly the most oldest in the world.It has been proved time and again that the seemingly superstious beliefs are not totally illogical but rather have very scietific foundation as have been increasingly discovered now.Please keep the thread alive with your points of view. Thanking you Regards Shivakanth

  20. Thanks Jim, Yes, Pollution is one of the major concerns globally, particularly in China and India. We need to do our bit.

  21. Very nice piece Arun! Not being an Indian I learned something new about Indian religious practices… Though this is surely an Indian issue the non-Indians bloggers should be informed and informing others of this issue since pollution of our planet is every persons concern, or at least should be.

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