The ten day Ganesh festival is just around the corner and preparations have already begun well in advance. And once the Elephant Lord has made his final entry, the hoopla that will follow in every nook and corner of the city is unimaginable. The entire ambience of the city is filled with such serene divinity and enthusiasm that the fervour is absolutely contagious.
That leaves the Punekar wondering, there is so much of fanfare when bappa (as he is fondly called by Maharashtrians) arrives but so little is done when we bid him the final goodbye. Surely, if you just take into consideration the long processions and the frenzy that follows, it’s quite a crazy affair. But the lewd songs, lecherous men and drunkards who create such a nuisance are also a part of this procession that most of the citizens prefer to steer away from it. This destroys the basic purpose of the festival which is creating a sense of unison and getting people from different sections of society together.
That’s not all, once the procession reaches the banks of river, the idol is immersed in water and people simply walk off. Nobody bothers to know what really happens to the idol, you have so lovingly bid farewell to. Well, if you think that a miracle takes place and your idol disappears in thin air, well you’re wrong because in reality, it is a sorry state of affairs.
If you were to visit the river banks the next day of the immersion, you would notice the rivers and the idols are in a deplorable condition. As the POP (Plaster of Paris) idols do not dissolve in water, they have contaminated the river and the marine life inside it. The idols are broken all over and scattered all over the place which affects the beautiful surroundings and is definitely a far cry from the farewell the Lord must have expected. The area is also filled with heap of filth caused due to nirmalya (flowers) that is thrown around everywhere by the so called devotees.
It is believed that God has created nature and by harming the environment with his pretence we are only insulting him further. All the gestures and the warm welcome we gave him initially is a waste, if you do not give him the due farewell, right?
It is time to wake up and choose the right way to celebrate the Ganesh Utsav. It is a festival initiated to bring people together for the welfare of the society and was not meant for destruction that it has led to. Adhere to the traditional methods of celebrating the festival and work for the betterment of humanity. Give up using POP idols and opt for Shadu (clay) statues. These idols can be immersed at home in clean water and once it dissolves, the same mud can be used in your garden. This way you will not only give him a respectful farewell but also protect the environment that he has created with so much of efforts.
It is never to too late to bring in the desired changes. So what are you waiting for? This festival make sure you give due farewell to our very favourite Ganpati bappa.