22 September 2010 | By: Writing Buddha

Ganesha Visarjan - We want it to be Eco-Friendly !!!

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Wow !!!
            So, finally the day is arrived when Lord Ganesha will be prayed for the last time during the festival of Ganesha Chaturthi. One of the biggest festival of the Indian culture ends up today. The idol of Ganesha which were bought and were decorated and maintained from last 12 days will be sent away from our home. It is always sad to say Good-Bye to the one whom you have been very close to and when it comes to God, you can never think of leaving your almighty. The idols aren't treated as a statue made up of clay or plaster of paris or whatever, they are treated as the God himself. Thus, they are prayed, they are worshiped, they are loved, they are respected. I remember that whenever I used to find the idols of God at anybody's house, I used to talk to God slowly and ask him why does all the wrong thing happens only with me. This is how the festivals turns up to be the colossal part of your life. The idols and the God stays with you at your home and you keep glaring them for the whole day because you know that after some days, the Almighty is going to leave you back with your common life again. 

              Its Anant Chaturthi today and according to the custom, The Idols bought on Ganesh Chaturthi's first day are immersed in the water today itself. The people are seen in numbers of thousands and lakhs at the river coast and riverside. People from all the places come with their respective idols of Ganesha for their Visarjan. They dance, they sing, they celebrate, they invite, they shout. The excitement doesn't get lurked so fast. The last day is seemed to be the most festive day of Ganesh Chaturthi. People also turn emotional seeing their Idols leaving them with a smile and a bless. People percepts that their God is talking to them and blessing them with powers. Whenever I see the idols of Ganesha on their way to Visarjan, even I feel like crying even when I have no attachment with the respective idol. What makes me feel emotional and palpable is the love of the people who dance and sing around the Idol.

             Ganesha Visarjan consists of all the dedication and love towards the God but it also has some ill-effects. We all are familiar with the effects but still we don't try to reduce them and stop the wrong verbs done by us. Have you ever seen what happens to our Idol after we submerge them into the river water? I got a mail and I also searched on Google and I got some shocking images. I would like to share with all of you on ARB. 




                 Can you believe this? I can't. I can't even imagine this. I always saw these statues in a decorative manner kept at the immaculate, neat and clean place but here, we can see that how the statues are suffering. Was this statue a God or it was just a statue and it is still the same? This is a very big question on Hinduism. After the Ganesh Visarjan is complete, many bull-dozers come at the river side and pick all the statues and keep them as a pile of garbage. These are the same statues which were prayed from last 10 days and we shared our problems with. This is a very big Eye-Opener for all of us. 

                Ganesha Visarjan also causes many other pollutions which aren't good for the Water and the lives of human beings. The most serious impact of the immersion of idols are the Plaster of Paris by which they are made up. Traditionally, the Ganesh icon was sculpted out of earth taken from nearby one’s home. After worshiping the divinity in this earth icon, it was returned back to the Earth by immersing it in a nearby water body. This cycle represented the cycle of creation and dissolution in Nature.

               However, as the production of Ganesh icons on a commercial basis grew, the earthen or natural clay (shaadu maati in Marathi) was replaced by Plaster of Paris. Plaster is a man made material, easier to mould, lighter and less expensive than clay. However, plaster takes much longer to dissolve and in the process of dissolution releases toxic elements into the water body. The chemical paints used to adorn these plaster icons themselves contain heavy metals like mercury and cadmium.

              On the final day of the Ganesh festival thousands of plaster icons are immersed into water bodies by devotees. These increase the level of acidity in the water and the content of heavy metals.The day after the immersion, shoals of dead fish can be seen floating on the surface of the water body as a result of this sudden increase.

              Several non governmental and governmental bodies have been addressing this issue. Amongst the solutions proposed by various groups some are as follows:
Return to the traditional use of natural clay icons and immerse the icon in a bucket of water at home.  

Use of a permanent icon made of stone and brass, used every year and a symbolic immersion only.
Recycling of plaster icons to repaint them and use them again the following year.
Ban on the immersion of plaster icons into lakes, rivers and the sea.
Creative use of other biodegradable materials such as paper mache to create Ganesh icons.
Encouraging people to immerse the icons in tanks of water rather than in natural water bodies.
To handle religious sentiments sensitively, some temples and spiritual groups have also taken up the cause.

                 Hope, in the coming years, we will celebrate the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi and Ganesh Visarjan eco-friendly. Let's hope that Hinduism doesn't cause any harm to the Earth and Environment !!!



4 CoMMenTs !!! - U CaN aLSo CoMMenT !!!:

hamaarethoughts.com said...

I am actually surprised looking at these pictures..what a treatment after visarjan? why?and Garbage...OMGD...no its good and also what kind of faith is that..where there is no respect....jus a momentary phase!!for pujas..
Indian Govt shld take out some better ways of disposing these sculptures where it maintains the serenity and same time eco-friendly!
In US they wud have never allowed this ,it would be a serious offence with penalties.

Writing Buddha said...

Mam, govt has made artificial tanks to immerse these sculptures but people are so careless and ill-mannered that they have no shame about their acts and the hurt they are giving to the God and the followers..

Anonymous said...

hey AR what is the technique behind artificial tanks...
what is the procedure to bring it in my city..
is it the governments work or we can do it on our own measures...

mayur dighe,kalyan

Writing Buddha said...

I dont have these technical details, sir. That u can search on google and other helpful sites.

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