This Ganesh festival, the Sai Nath Mandal Trust at Budhwar Peth aims to spread awareness against child abuse. “Over these 10 days, we will conduct a variety of plays and an exhibition of posters and newspaper articles at our pandal to highlight this issue,” said Piyush Ramesh Shah, working president at Sai Nath Mandal Trust.
There are paintings on display that demonstrate how children must protect themselves against sexual abuse. The paintings have been done by Amit Dhane, who is a friend of Shah. “We do our children wrong by not listening to them or just taking what they say lightly. We need to have conversation with them and educate them about what it is appropriate and what is offensive,” says Shah.
The second play that we have prepared is about a boy who is molested by his uncle. His parents do not believe him and this brings about disastrous consequences. “The message that we want to send out is for all parents to take care of their children, believe them and keep an eye out for something that might affect them and spoil their childhood,” he added. The short plays are informative yet entertaining with a mix of dance, song and dialogues. “During this festive season, even though we want to spread a social message, we do not want to make coming to our pandal a sombre experience. We want people to be entertained as well as informed and educated on such issues. For this, we have decided to infuse an element of song and dance in our plays,” he added.
This year, Bappa has taken upon himself to inform devotees that organs are best utilised on earth after death.
While the idol will be invoked at the Fort Vibhaag Sarvajanik Ganesha Utsav, more than one lakh devotees will be educated about the necessity of donating organs to save lives. “When formerCM Vilasrao Deshmukh succumbed to his ailment as he did not receive a healthy liver on time, it set us thinking about the need to raise awareness about organ donation. Close to 15 volunteers will be deployed at the entrance and exit of the pandal to explain to devotees the need to registerfor organ donation,” said Ravindra Surve, secretary of the Fort Vibhaag Sarvajanik Ganesha Utsav.
In addition to going the eco-friendly way, Bal Gopal Mitra Mandal in Vile Parle plans to set up an elaborate concept-driven light and music show to drive home the point that organ donation is an essential duty.
“Setting up a theme of organ donation is like a feather in the cap for our pandal, which has created a 14ft eco-friendly idol out of tissue paper. A 15-minute show will enlighten devotees of the procedure of organ donation in the pandal,” said Vijay Kumar, the mandal’s secretary.
This year, Parsiwadi Sarvajanik Mandal in Ghatkopar will screen a six-minute animation film, along with offering darshan of the lord in the pandal.
“We have sought help from the Zonal Transplant Co-ordination Centre in the state to distribute donor cards, which we will convince every devotee to keep in their wallet. The card shows the consent of the person to donate organs after death,” said Pradip Pandey, secretary of the mandal.
Ganesh Chaturthi is a popular festival celebrated in India. The 10-day long celebration includes decorating Ganesha idols at home, making and enjoying mouth-watering delicacies and of course, music, lights and immersion of the idol on the last day. However, as we celebrate Ganpati, we often forget how small things we do during the festival can cause harm to the environment. This year, we believe it’s time for some eco-consciousness. So here are some simple ways to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi in an eco-friendly way.
Use eco-friendly idols: Ditch Ganesha idols made of chemicals, plaster of Paris, plastic and thermocol and opt for natural biodegradable materials like clay and papier mache instead. Biodegradable materials do not pollute the water or the surroundings after immersion. Homemaker Jaya Shanti says, “I make a Ganpati using haldi (turmeric) at home. This is 100% natural and doesn’t cause any harm to the environment.” You can also use other natural products such as coconut to make your idol and natural colours to paint it.
Small and sweet: Big idols occupy a lot of space and take a lot of time to dissolve in water. So, don’t keep an idol more than 5 feet tall in your society. Huge idols also consume more POP for its making; this material is harmful to the environment. Bigger idols also cause traffic congestion. Remember it’s the ritual and your emotions that should be big.
Conserve energy: We all love the fairy lights and bright incandescent bulbs. But they are a waste of energy and are expensive too. Replace these with compact fluorescent lights (CFL) as they save electricity and your money. You could wrap coloured transparent papers on the bulbs to give a dramatic look.
Use natural colours for rangoli: Use biodegradable colours such as turmeric, henna, rice powder, coloured dal and gulaal to make rangoli. These colours are eco-friendly and safe. Also, say no to decorations made of plastic and non-degradable material. Gargi Bansod, journalist says, “We use natural materials such as cloth, wood and paper for decorations. We also reuse materials from previous years in different ways.”
Say no to noise pollution: Avoid playing loud music which can cause disturbance in your society. Try playing instruments that are soft and soothing. Loudspeakers create noise pollution and can annoy hospitals, schools and your neighbours. Make sure to turn off the music by 10pm and abide by rules. Say no to crackers as well!
Ban plastic: There is a lot of delicious food served at home during Ganpati as well as fruits and sweets offered at pandals. Skip plastic and serve food in natural plates such as banana leaves instead. You can use cloth bags to carry prasad and other offerings as they can be reused later.
Limit the number of public pandals: Festivals are supposed to bring people together. So, instead of celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi separately at different pandals, make one big pandal in your area for the entire neighborhood. Remember, more pandals means more noise, garbage and waste of electricity.
Artificial immersion tank: Using rivers, ponds, lakes or seas to immerse Ganesha idols can cause health hazards and is bad for the environment. Use an artificial immersion tank to immerse the idol. You can request your community members to do the same.
By Santosh Andhale, DNA
People may be familiar with the names of Manish Malhotra and Vikram Phadnis, fashion designers to the stars. Lalbaug resident Rupesh Pawar, 40, is also a fashion designer but in a wholly different sense.
Among the few tailors in the city who are inundated with requests to dress up Ganesh idols before Ganeshotsav, Pawar literally dresses up the gods.
Pawar has been making costumes for the Ganesh idol for Lalbaughcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshoutsav Mandal (LRSGM), organisers of the most visited pandal in the city, for the past 19 years. This year, around 40 lakh devotees are expected to visit the pandal.
Having Lalbaugcha Raja as a client makes Pawar a popular choice among other Ganesh mandals in the city, but he refuses to work for suburban mandals since he wouldn’t have the time to visit the pandals personally.
Currently, Pawar is making attires for 13 large idols, ranging from 8 to 20 feet in height, and for about 30 small ones which will make their way into people’s homes.
“Whatever I am today is because of Lalbaugcha Raja. I am just a simple tailor but I am recognised because of this Ganesh pandal,” he says modestly.
Pawar takes four hours to make one set of clothes for an idol and begins work two months ahead of the festival. “The mandal has given me the right to choose the colours for the costumes, including the stoles that the idols wear,” he said.
While keeping the attire simple, Pawar has introduced new features over time. Since last year, he has been bringing a special rim from Surat to embellish the dhoti worn by the deity.
“We had to bring the dhoti border from Surat because we do not get this kind of elaborate handmade designs in Mumbai. Sharad Gahdigaonkar and Omkar Pahate are the two people helping me with this job,” added Pawar.
Pawar charges Rs2,000 to Rs2,500 to dress up idols less than eight feet in height and from Rs3,500 to Rs4,500 for the taller ones. But for Lalbaugcha Raja, he does all the work for free. He says, “It is a big honour for me to dress up the king of Mumbai’s Ganeshas.”
The season of Ganpati is here and the city has been decked up with a number of Ganesh pandals — some recent, and some, who have been following the tradition for many years now. One such, over-a-century-old Ganesh devotee group is the Sri Balveer Bhakta Samaj in Hussaini Alam, which is in the heart of the Old city.
They have been continuing the practice of installing a Ganesh idol during the festival for 106 years now.
Says Ashok Singh, chairman of the Samaj, “We have still preserved the certificates of the security permission granted for installation in 1919 by the then Nizam administration.” There was a time when this place was a perfect example of communal harmony as Hindus and Muslims would come together every year to celebrate Vinayaka chaviti.
Muslims organise the ‘pujas’ and ‘aarti’ in the morning and evening as well as receive the devotees.
And now, even though Muslims may not be involved in the organising of the puja and aarti, various Muslim families visit the pandal along with their families to be a part of the puja.
“I am the one who is organising this pandal for now. Even though Muslim don’t organise the puja for now, a lot of Muslims come with their kids for the aarti and prasad. The idol was installed on Thursday, followed by a grand puja. After that sarees and dhotis were distributed to women and men in the society, and note books were distributed to the children,” informs Singh.
He further says, “We will take out a grand procession on the tenth day of the festival, wherein the celebrations go on till 3 am. Various other communities are also involved and prizes are awarded to the best decorated idol and so on.”
Source: New Indian Express
Vadodara: Corruption and Anna Hazare are the favourite themes at Ganpati tableaux. Mandals or pandal organisers in the city are known to embrace issues that are widely discussed or debated and make decorations or backgrounds using them as theme. In the past the Godhra carnage, terror attacks, Sohrabuddin murder case and similar issues have been recreated by pandals. Some have even made comments on these through audio-visual presentations.
At least three pandals in Vadodara and one in Godhra have raised the issue of corruption and included Anna Hazare in it. Shri Balaji Navyuvak Mandal at Ghee Kanta Road in Raopura has used images of tainted persons like DMK‘s Kanimozhi and A Raja, Suresh Kalmadi as well as suspended Vadodara Municipal Corporation city engineer V N Taylor in its pandal.
The pandal even raises the issue of corruption in the city survey department, roads and in school admissions as donations. Kirad Modi, one of the organisers of the pandal, said that people need to become more aware and should start resisting corruption. “Pandals have always raised such key issues and we are doing the same this time around,” he said. And Anna seems to show the way ahead appearing prominently in the background of Ganesha.
The sight of Bal Ganesh standing on an elephant’s trunk on three toes may be a treat for the worshipper’s eyes but it’s a difficult idol for a sculptor to make. However, 32 year-old Lalbaug sculptor Rajesh Shinde has pulled off this 28 foot tall work of art with ease.
The 48 year old Khetwadi 8th Lane Sarvajanik Ganehotsav Mandal came up with the idea of the unique idol and approached Shinde to execute it. The 28 foot idol is the tallest in the Khetwadi mandal’s history and in sculptor’s 12 year-old career.
The Bal Ganesh idol, which stands on three toes, weighs about two tonne and was sculpted and painted to perfection in just three days. “I got the order (from Khetwadi mandal) a month ago and I wasn’t sure if I would be able to deliver in just five days. I still took it up as a challenge and by God’s grace I managed pretty well,” Shinde said.
“I started working on the idol on August 25 and I am almost done with it. I just need to finish painting the idol and I intend to do that by Sunday,” he added.
The Vice-Secretary of the Khetwadi 8th Lane mandal, Nilesh Shirdhankar, said, “The sculptor has made the idol in just three days and he has promised to give it the final touches by Sunday. The making of the idol had to be delayed because it had to be made in the pandal that was built only 10 days ago.”
Another mandal member, Abhay Parkar, said, “This is not the first time he made an idol at such short notice. He has been doing this for eight years now. Since our lane is very narrow, we get permission to set up the pandal only 10 days before Ganeshotsav. Of the 10 days, two days go in setting up the pandal, about four to five days go in making the idol and the remaining days we use to decorate it.”