NAGPUR: Tired of false claims made by idol makers and no foolproof method available to know if an idol is of pure clay or PoP, many devotees, this year, are opting for totally offbeat ways of worshipping Ganesh.
Using a betel nut in place of an idol is Kiran Trivedi, a retired lecturer of Hislop College. "I have no faith in what is being sold in the markets. Last year, we had bought one such and it did not dissolve up to a month. It pained me so much that this year I have decided against having an idol," says Trivedi. "As educated and informed people, we are well aware of the harm caused to the environment with these chemically loaded idols. It's time we ourselves took some positive steps," she says.
Going for an idol made from cow dung this year, chartered accountant Sandeep Agarwal says, "I attended a talk given by Mumbai's Neelesh Tupe, who is propagating this concept. This idol is purely organic as it is made from the dung of desi cow which is rich in oxygen and when immersed it rejuvenates the water body," he explains. "I am associated with an NGO involved with cleaning of Sonegaon lake. The soil in the bed of a lake or river is like natural fertilizer and we ruin it with chemicals and PoP by immersing these commercially made idols," he adds.
Using alum to craft a 3-feet idol of Ganesh at Ramdeobaba College of Engineering, Pradeep Agarwal, the temple committee chairman, says that he got this idea as alum is the best substance to clean water. "I got a mould made for this purpose and first made a half feet idol which turned out fine. Then we used 100kg of alum to create this one," he informs. "One kilo of alum cleans up to one lakh litres of water. So, our idol will help clean the water body. Initially, the students wanted a grand huge idol but now they are very thrilled with this idea as it is getting them lot of appreciation," he says.
Underlining the tradition of parthav Ganesh, child specialist Dr Shubhda Khirwadkar says, "I believe that an idol should be made at home from the clay drawn from our own courtyard. It should be worshipped for ten days and immersed in the well around our homes." Describing the entire process of crafting an idol and worshipping it as emotionally enriching, she says, "Being able to immerse it in a well makes us capable of being detached with our own creations. This experience makes us more mature and helps us to protect the environment too," she adds.
Surrounded by stalls peddling PoP idols at the Gokulpeth market is the lone crusader Anjali Basrani, who is promoting clay idols. "I am selling 100% clay idols which will get dissolved within half an hour. We are also giving a packet of tulsi seeds to customers that can be planted in that clay to get a lush plant after the festival," says Basrani and adds that this year customers are not going by the word but want proof that the idol is genuinely made of clay.