Ganesha Chathurthi is one of India’s most important, widely-celebrated festivals. And as always, the manufacture of Ganesha idols has picked up pace, both in terms of size and numbers, as the festival draws near.
A festival that was once celebrated with sustainability at its core, seems to have digressed from its core values, traditions and culture. It’s disheartening to find that the festival has now been reduced to the pollution of our water bodies. The grave ecological ramifications hold a mirror to a society more taken with the pomp and grandeur of the festival than with the actual wisdom, and the worship of nature itself, that make up its essence. Clay idols have always been an integral part of the culture of the festival. PoP idols have gained favour over the last few decades, the glamour of large, brightly painted, waterproof idols has taken over the celebrations.
The KSCPB and BBMP have, for the last five years or so, attempted to curb the sale and the use of PoP idols. These efforts seem to be going to waste, however, as no serious efforts have been made to ban the manufacture of the idols within the state, or to stop the influx of banned idols from other states.
Even though the implementation of the ban has been quite successful within city limits, places like Belagavi and Hubbali have to pull up their socks and maintain a strict vigil against idols being brought in from across state borders. Even the creation of awareness among the masses has not been encouraging. Religious leaders should make citizens aware about the ecological ramifications of their celebrations. However, all is not yet lost, but the time has definitely come for authorities to implement the law and seize banned idols.
The writer is Co-founder, Friends of Lakes...