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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Broke my heart!

My cousin S sent me these pictures and it broke my heart... I was too sad to compose something pithy and emphatic, so, I will just jot down a bit of background information to put the pictures in context.

One of the happy festivals celebrated in India is called Vinayaka Chathurthy (Ganesha Chathurthi) where the idea is to contemplate on the Divine Preceptor Ganesha, and start new tasks appealing to His grace to help overcome obstacles in the path of righteous success. And, enjoy special feast. We celebrated it at home in a quiet way this year, just a couple of days ago.

Symbolically, a small plain clay icon is made (usually about 6-12 inches) and then immersed in a nearby body of water where the clay icon dissolves without leaving much negative impact to the environment. This has been an optional part of the festival.

But, apparently, this has become the primary focus over the last several years where larger and larger idols are made out of non-bio-degradable materials, leading to rivalry among neighborhood communities to out-do each other in the pomp and splendor...
Today, the Ganesh Festival is not only a popular festival - it has become a very critical and important economic activity for Maharashtra. Many artists, industries, and businesses survive on this mega-event. Ganesh Festival also provides a stage for budding artists to present their art to the public.-- Wikipedia

However, after the festivities, the idols are just discarded as trash and that is what makes these pictures heartrending for me... the pictures are apparently taken at Mumbai beach.

Concerned citizens are doing their best to create awareness, appeal to the fellow celebrators, and get this back under some control... but, hope it is soon enough.
While I admire the artistry, the careless disregard for sanctity of the festival (and environment) that these pictures present made it distressing for me...

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5:09 AM  
Blogger ~nm said...

I totally understand what you are trying to convey thru this post. And I feel the same.

The same goes for the Durga Puja in Bengal and the pictures could very well be same except that the idols would be of Durga Ma!

I'm all for such celebrations but not at all for such disrespect *maybe unintentionally). And more so when these earthen idols are baked in the oven for firmness, the soil becomes totally waste and is left of no use.

So I feel bad for such endings not only from religion point of view but also from environmental pollution aspect.

But I wonder if anyone will let this tradition know in India, nothing can be stopped which is done in the name of religion.

10:12 PM  

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