Rajkumari Sharma Tankha
Ganesh Chaturthi is round the corner. And this is the time you children have to be more responsible. Insist upon your parents that they buy only eco-friendly idols.
Children, you must have heard PM Narendra Modi in this Sunday’s Mann Ki Baat on radio where he also called upon everyone to protect environment. It’s time for you to do your bit.
Do not buy the Ganesh idols made of plaster of Paris (PoP). PoP idols painted with chemical paints do not bode well for the rivers these are immersed in. Look for Ganeshas made of clay, mud or other organic material, and tell your parents to go in for these.
Hindus believe that Lord Ganesha brings in prosperity when he visits our home and takes away all our sorrows along with him when he is immersed. This is an age-old belief; When this practice started idols were made of clay, there were no chemicals. So upon immersion these did not harm the water bodies they were put in.
With changing times, Ganesha idols came to be made of various chemicals, and that’s when these became harmful. But obviously no one understood the harm these were doing to rivers till it the problem assumed gargantuan proportions.
You all know the state our sacred rivers have fallen in. Most of these are highly polluted. Even the most revered Ganga needs a Namami Gange Project to be cleansed of its pollution. The less said about the river Yamuna the better; it seems beyond revival. We have reached this state just because over the years we kept adding all sorts of garbage into our rivers.
Things are bad, but not beyond redemption. It is time we start taking corrective steps. And not immersing PoP idols into river is perhaps the first step in this direction. We all must stop polluting rivers in the name of religion.
I know of a few people who bring in Lord Ganesha made of metal or some such durable material and immerse the idol in a bucket at home on the immersion day. They later use this water to irrigate plants. And, believe me, I have seen no harm being done to them. So, get out of this belief that if you keep Ganesha with you, your sorrows won’t go. They will. If you impress upon your parents to change their beliefs a bit, you will be doing a great service to environment, and to yourself.