Pune Mirror: Feel like going away from the herd mentality and getting home an eco-friendly Ganesh idol this Ganeshotsav? Now, you can make your own idol over weekends and a social organisation formed by a group of like-minded students will ensure that it stays safe with them till you take it home for Ganesh Chaturthi.
This initiative, named Ganesh Chitrashala, has been formed by Yugpath after they realised that thousands of Plaster of Paris (POP) Ganesh idols are polluting the water bodies in the city. Determined to bring about a change in this hazardous practice, they started visiting river banks two years ago, to convince people to immerse their idols in tanks provided by PMC instead of in the river-water, but with limited success.
“We realised that during the visarjan ceremony, people are too caught up in the rituals to pay heed to our requests and are in no mood to ‘contribute their bit to saving the environment’. We needed to change our tracks a bit and come up with an alternative idea to propagate our views,” recalls Sahil Bhattad, a second-year Bachelor of Arts student of Symbiosis and founder member of Yugpath. That is how Ganesh Chitrashala was created. A workshop for sculpting Ganesh idols using shadu clay, this initiative received an overwhelming response of 100 participants last year. Now the 20-year-olds, in partnership with the India Art Gallery, are all set to organise the event for a second time.
“When Lokmanya Tilak introduced the public celebration of Ganeshotsav in Maharashtra, he used to sit on river banks and make idols out of the mud that he gathered there, which shows how environment-friendly the festival was originally meant to be. Even though it is common knowledge that POP does not dissolve in water and contaminates it, POP idols are still in vogue in most households. We truly wish to change this picture,” says Salil Ranade, a core member of Yugpath.
Ganesh Chitrashala is going bigger and better this year, with the organisers prepared to teach upto 500 participants this time. The workshop, which begins on August 6, will be distributed over four weekends, with the batches being conducted throughout the day from 9 am to 8 pm and each batch working for one hour. The venue will be the New English School in Ramanbaug.
Sahil elaborates, “The participants will be guided through the entire process of making the idols. We’ll first teach them how to use separate moulds for the central body, head, trunk and hands to shape the idol. Mixing the clay in the right manner to fit it perfectly in all the corners of the moulds is harder than kneading dough at home.
And joining all the parts to come up with a complete and preferably faultless idol is not an easy task at all! We will constantly assist the participants with everything, right from giving the finishing touches to the idols to painting them using their personal favourite colours. And what we can vouch for is that the lack of artistic skills won’t stand in anybody’s way to make a professional-looking idol.” And once the idols are ready, they will be cared for by organisers till the commencement of the festival. So, who’s in to flaunt their very own Ganesh idol made the eco-friendly way? For more information, visit indiaart.com or call 9767896766.