Mumbai and Maharashtra celebrate the Ganesh festival every year with great zest. This year the focus has been on eco-friendly celebrations –
1. Symbolic immersions of house hold idols. Before the time they became community events nearly 75 years ago, the home made Gamesh idols were immersed in water in home ponds, kept there for some time before placing it back in the house. These have been revived as a way of not polluting water sources elsewhere in the city.
2. Making of clay models of Ganapatis which are said to dissolve faster than the currently used plaster of paris ones.
3. Lalbaug Ganapati mandal (the organisation which manages the festival at Lalbaug) are going for carbon credits to offset their carbon emissions.
4. Purchase of idols from organisations such as NASEOH (National Society for Equal Oppertunities for the Handicapped)
5. Reviving traditions of Maharashtra among school children by organising plays, fancy dress competitions etc. These are better ways to spread Marathi culture, which once you’re acquainted with are really great to read about.
6. Lesser noise and sensible use of loud speakers. There’s been really less noise compared to last year. The sensible noise pollution rules have been well implemented this year.
7. Pestom Sagar Citizen’s Forum converting waste PoP into bricks
Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the man who started these celebrations to bring unity among Indians against British rule is hopefully proud of such socially and ecologically aware celebrations. Next year, I hope organisers will take the next step in preserving and representing the culture so that it is preserved for generations –
1. Video recordings of gatherings,activities etc.
2. maps on Google or Yahoo! on locations of Ganapati mandals.
3. sharing photos on sites like Picasa and Flickr and even integrating it with maps.
4. records of electricity used and decibels recorded for looking at possible ways to save electricity.
These are just pointers. I hope that much more is done to try and integrate and save traditional practises through modern medias.