Ganeshas and lakes

Eco-Ganesha kai hote? (What is Eco-Ganesha?) For sixty year old Savitri, who has lived all her life in a village in Maharashtra, the only Ganeshas she knows are the ones they make with the soil from the beds (and surroundings) of lakes and ponds in her village. Her first time in the city, Savitri is astounded by the size and the variety of Ganeshas she sees in the shops and Eco-Ganesha is a word that has got fixed in her memory forever.

Like many proud Marathas, Savitri says that the Ganesha festival itself originated during her ancestor Shivaji’s time, or so her grandmother told her. She is happy that the festival is celebrated so grandly in the city, but little does she know that many city dwellers are trying to emulate her and her village mates today.

In Savitri’s village, preparations for the festival begin several months earlier. During the summers, the water levels in the lakes fall and the local potters collect the soil from the lake beds. Though the impact of digging soil out from lake beds is debatable, when done in moderation, it is said improve the availability and quality of water and provide a better habitat for the water life (like the fishes and frogs) when the monsoon arrives. The Ganeshas are made in the summer months itself, naturally dried and then stored to be decorated shortly before the Ganapathi festival. The potters use their own dyes made with turmeric, red mud, plant and other natural colours. At the end of the festival, the Ganeshas go back into the lake waters from which they were born, cleansing and nourishing the water with the herbal properties of the decorated idols. Water to water. 

Eco-Ganesha!

Today, we are dissuading people from going to lakes with their Ganeshas.

There are several eco-friendly alternatives that have been advertised. The government has also been asking people to go in for mud and clay Ganeshas, painted with natural colours, of small size that can be immersed at home. Despite this, it is expected that majority of the Ganeshas will not be ‘eco-compliant’ and their worshippers will be seeking out lakes. The material with which the Ganeshas are made, the paints used to colour them and the other accessories that are put on the Ganeshas are most likely going to be harmful to water bodies and the lives they support.

Puttenahalli Lake is not on BBMP’s list of lakes designated for Ganesha idol immersion.  "Immersion of idols" is also on the list of Don’ts. But we are prepared! PNLIT has organized two different immersion points where water drums and flower collection baskets have been specially placed. A watchman and volunteers will also be on duty. Devotees who do turn up at Puttenahalli Lake will be asked to immerse their Ganeshas in the water drums at these points and save the lake!


Pic: Nupur Jain

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Bengaluru’s street vendors are the first to be impacted by climate change: Lekha Adavi

Lekha Adavi, member of AICTU, says the nature of street vending has changed in the city due to the impact of climate change.

(This is part 1 of the interview with Lekha Adavi on the impact of climate change on Bengaluru's street vendors) On May 1st, while the world celebrated Labour Day, Bengaluru recorded its highest temperature in 40 years. With temperatures continually on the rise, one of the most affected groups are street and peripatetic vendors (vendors who operate on foot or with push carts). In this interview, Lekha Adavi, member of the All India Centre of Trade Unions (AICTU), talks about the effect of climate change on street vendors. Excerpts: Lekha Adavi, member of the All India Centre of Trade Unions…

Similar Story

Smothered by smog: Struggle of vegetable vendors in Delhi’s Keshopur Mandi

Delhi's air pollution affects every resident, but for the urban poor, like vegetable vendors of Keshopur Mandi, it is much worse.

Halfway through our interview, vegetable vendor Rekha asked me point blank, “Isse kya hoga,” and at that moment, I could not think of an answer. She was right and had every reason to be hopeless. Much has been written about air pollution and much energy has been spent on expert committees and political debates and yet nothing has changed.  “Hum toh garib log hai, hum kisko jakar bole, hamari sunvai nahin hoti” (We are poor people, to whom do we go, nobody listens to us),” says Rekha Devi, who sells vegetables in the Keshopur Mandi. Keshopur is a large retail…