Ganpati Bappa Morya!

The small clay idol at mother’s place, with leaves and flowers for decoration.

Tomorrow we bid adieu to our favourite deity, the elephant headed Lord Ganesha – our very dear Ganpati Bappa.  Ganeshotsav was started by freedom fighter Lokmanya Balgangadhar TIlak with the hope of bringing people together. He did succeed in his endeavour, as we can see around us today.  People of different faiths come together to celebrate this festival with much fervour. It is indeed heartening to take in such sights like the Muslims getting together with their HIndu friends to decorate the pandal, conduct the aarti and partake of the prasad.

But, regretfully, there are also sights and sounds  that make us wish for a utopian society rather than the one we populate!  When the Ganpati in our neighbourhood set off for immersion after one and a half days, we heaved a sigh of relief. Ironic, isn’t it, considering we all await eagerly for Him to arrive in our midst every year?  So,  let me share with you something that will warm your hearts; something that I fervently hope becomes the norm in the utopian society we all fantasise about.

Last week, I visited my Uncle’s home for Ganesh darshan. They have been celebrating the festival since many years. But, what sets it apart, is they have been using a metal idol for the celebrations. No clay idol for them. Uncle bought a small metal idol 21 years ago, and it is this idol that they worship during the festival. And, on the day of the visarjan, the tiny Bappa goes for a dip in a bucket of water. After the dip, my Aunt towel dries the idol and places it back in the little temple in their home.

I am aware that many people follow this unique and very environment-friendly way of celebrating the festival. But, I wish all of us would do it. We complain about the noise pollution, and the water pollution which is at its peak during these days. But, how many of us are ready to take the first significant step towards the change we so wish to see? Last week, I was forwarded a video on  Whatsapp of mud idols of the Lord available in the market. After the festival, all  we need to do, is place the idol in a flowerpot and pour water over it.

The idol melts like a candle would and all that you are left with is mud, perfect to plant your favourite plant. You then sow a seed of your choice and in a matter of days, you have a sapling emerging out of the soil that was, once, the Lord Himself! The innovative idea is, I am sure, a few years old. Many among us bring home this idol and help the environment in their own small  way.  Sadly, when you emerge from the world of social media and look outside at the real world, you see more pandals sprouting on every street, every corner, with idols big and small, made of god-knows-what material, with artificial decorations that follow the idols into the sea/ponds on the day of the immersion, when the city bids farewell to Bappa.

And, the following day, all that you see are parts of Bappa and the decoration and whatnot floating in the water, garbage lining the shores and a mess all around. it’s easier forwarding the videos than practicing what we preach, isn’t it?

Do we really need all of this mess that we create in the name of festivals? The main aim of Lokmanya Tilak was to bring people together. Won’t the goal be achieved by placing one eco-friendly idol instead of ten on the very same street? Won’t the Lord be appeased by simplicity instead of all the hullabaloo we create to celebrate Him? In the wildest of my dreams, I see Bappa plugging His ears to save Himself from an unbearable headache caused due to the loudspeakers, and then bowing down before people to bring all the madness to a stop and  change their ways.

That dream will never come true because Life is not a fantasy. What I do hope comes true, is the wish to see the change we all crave for. Lesser idols in smaller sizes made with environment-friendly material (and not plaster of Paris), eco-friendly decorations, an absence of loud speakers that play  at a high volume all day long with blithe disregard for the laws of the land. And, most of all, unity in following new rules for the betterment of our society, for the peace and tranquility we all need and in caring for the environment that is a gift to us. A gift that is fast nearing its doom.

We regard Ganpati Bappa to be the Lord of knowledge. The way we celebrate His festival, He will wonder what we do with all the knowledge He bestows on us!


Published by shilpagupte

Do you know the secret to living a happy life? Eat. Pray. Love. Or, watch what you eat, wish well for all and fill your heart with love! That's precisely what I try to do through my blogs: 'Metanoia', the wellness blogazine, and 'Fictionista', my blog for fiction and non-fiction. Welcome to my virtual homes!

24 thoughts on “Ganpati Bappa Morya!

  1. Absolutely, Shilpa. I’ve seen the same thing here all of last week. We do talk of eco-friendly Ganeshas and people have had these at homes but the ones on the streets that are taking out the processions are almost always creating more rubbish in the water tanks that will take a very long time to clean up. Really sad to see how dirty the whole place turns after the festivals.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There are exactly 4 big idols surrounding my society. I am not counting the smaller society Ganpatis. With all norms flouted – environment, noise, light, I do not see any changes happening. If anything, it has got worse in the past few years. Unless, some of the big pandals do something about it, it will still carry on.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, Shilpa. Despite all the noise, you hardly see people walk the talk. We had to fight for years till we pushed the festival committee in my gated community to get a clay idol. Luckily that is happening and a number of my friends are now getting a Ganesh idol home. Yet, there is a large need for others to be more green and more true to the benign Lord.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. To get your idea across to people, we need to fight. But, what use is it all, if all our words fall on deaf ears? That’s how I feel when I see the way things are only worsening by the day, Rachna. The ones who really understand, are so less in numbers!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re right about the crassness , the noise and the commercialisation of the festival. In some small chawls in Mumbai, the celebration is still very simple with children putting up skits and dances, some spiritual discourses etc. In my house too we have a metal Ganpati whom we worship for 1 1/2 days and put away after immersing the idol in a bucket. Our Ganpati worship is solely for family –

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  5. I saw the WhatsApp video of eco-friendly Bappa made of mud and becomes earth. I think such messages should be made more widespread to bring change. Lokmanya Tilak as one of our freedom fighters made such a huge difference in bringing unity and perhaps people need to be reminded of his aims. But, I do love the shor and sharaba somehow though it can get too much at times.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Vishal, first of all, a BIG thank you for commenting on each and every post of mine. Your comments are the biggest encouragement I need right now, considering it’s a new blog and in need of more readers.
      Now, coming to the post, yes, messages such as the video ought to be spread widely and substantially to get the effect it needs to have on people’s mindsets.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Shilpa, I know of a few friends who bring home small eco-friendly Ganesha idols every year and grow seeds in the mud after immersion of the idols in big pots. The majority still prefers the huge idols made of plaster of paris or other such materials. The mindset of people in the society has to change for a change to take place. Lovely article.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hear you Shilpa; I find our religious practices the most waste geenrative ones out of the rest of the faiths. Go to any temple and you will see so much wastage in terms of milk being poured on deities, fruits left to rot near the idols and the garbage generated in name of prasad. Contrast it to a gurudwara where the cleanliness levels are high with every one practicing sewa.
    When will our religion turn towards eco-sense, god alone knows! I have no idea which scriptures of ours tell us to waste so much food or create so much garbage – all in the name of worship.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, Shalini….and, each time I see such wastage, I feel guilty. All the prasad that goes waste, all the money that is poured in the festivities could very well used for the betterment of the needy, or the city we reside in.
      Wonder when people will learn!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I so miss Ganesh Chaturti! It’s not so prevalent here in Delhi, but I remember waiting for these 10 days and going pandal hopping with my parents. Even back then, there were a few eco friendly pandals where the idols were made of banana leaves and corn. The idea of a Ganesh idol that turns into fertile soil is brilliant! I hope more people adopt it – I’m sure it would make Ganeshji very happy!

    Liked by 1 person

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