Friday, October 23, 2015

Our Hindu Rituals! Should We Change Some Now?

Godess Durga idol being immersed amidst piled up garbage at Kalindi Kunj Ghat.

The above image is from The Hindu and the next one is from google. Painted Durga idols are immersed in water bodies after Durga Pooja in Bengal, Odisha etc.

 Image result for Durga immersion

I am not happy looking at the 'to be broken' or 'broken' idols of gods.  So much effort is down the drain. Yes, this is a ritual followed by many for the past many years.  But we are adding pollution to the river and our earth cannot take it anymore.  Population has increased...instead of one idol, hundreds of idols are being immersed.  We don't have many water bodies anymore! Clean water is becoming scarce.

'Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) senior scientist Dillip Behera said: “Metal compounds of elements such as lead, cadmium, chromium and nickel are largely found in artificial colours and if so many idols are immersed in the river, they may cause carcinogenic or cancer-causing toxicity in the water and affect people downstream.' (link)

Earlier vegetable colours and colours from stones were used to paint the idols.  But now, cheap paints are used. 

Same thing happens when we immerse Ganesha idols also.  At least, we, in Tamilnadu, use clay idols which blend with the water easily.  And when I was in Bangalore, I used to immerse our Ganesha idol in a bucket of water, leave it for a couple of days and throw the water in some corner of the compound.  I did the same in my previous house too though we had a well at home, since I worried about the clay's origin!

Clay idol at home! (link)
This way of disposing off idols is ideal I feel! In Bangalore, they had built a huge cement tank at Raagi Gudda temple, filled it with water. People stood in a long queue at night and immersed the idols there.  Many idols were clay idols! And many were painted with organic paints, I was told! People were 'placing' the idol inside the tank, not throwing them in the water, which I liked! After all Ganesha is our favourite god! Have a look:

Clay idol with organic colours, it seems.  Looks beautiful.
Tank for Ganesh visarjan. People stood calmly in line and immersed the idols here. All flowers and other things which adorned the idols were dropped in one place.  Just the idols were immersed here.
The crowd waiting for Ganesh visarjan, chanting Ganapathi Bappa Moriya and singing some bhajans.

People can drop the idols in the tank and go out via another gate.  One hundi was kept there.  People who are interested to help this scheme can drop money in it.  This is done by a group of people for the past few years, it seems. The debris is removed from the tank later.

Clay idols and immersion tank are ideal to celebrate these idol visarjans.  Nobody is hurt in this way. Let us all think about it!



SG said...

Very good idea.

Sandhya said...

SG: I think so too!

Usha Pisharody said...

Very well said, Sandhya! Apart from the enormous budgets some of these idols have, the idea of giving back to nature, her own natural elements has to figure at the top of the priority list, if we must do what we do, as part of rituals. A fine effort there by those nature empaths!

Destination Infinity said...

Rituals are fine, but our shift to chemicals for anything and everything is the issue. Just because some people have studied chemical engineering, it doesn't give them the right to harm the environment for their luxurious living. I think we should consciously reject chemical stuff and demand organic stuff.

Destination Infinity

Sandhya said...

USHA PISHARODY: I liked what people are doing in Bangalore. Hope people stop buying painted idols and start Bangalore type of visarjan method all over India. Unknowingly we are already spoiling our nature...this can be stopped if some effort is taken soon.

DESTINATION INFINITY: You must have seen huge PAINTED Ganesha idols kept on the roadside nowadays. This is not our type of celebration. Then they take the idols on lorries or tempoos to immerse them in Marina beach. They have to cross the muslim area in Triplicane and for this a huge police force goes along. Why this unwanted troubles? This is not our Tamil culture at all. The roadside Ganeshas are taken care of in the mornings and evenings with some sort of pooja. In daytime, children play hide and seek. And lazy people sit there on the mandap and chat. I always felt sorry for the state of Ganesha. People are changing for the worse.

Mrs TJ said...

Its definitely a pleasant change.. Hope this change spreads quickly throughout India.. It will be a ritual, very eco-friendly. Even if one percent of the population can adapt to this method, there is hope that slowly everyone will change. But some one must step forward to arrange this kind of large tank in every city.

Onkar said...

Laudable effort

Bikram said...

Definitely we need to change .. look at all what we are doing to nature in the name of religion ..

and that is a great idea :) i hope everyone does it ..


Jeevan said...

Immersing in the specific tank is a wonderful move... and should be encouraged. For last 5-6 years we have been dissolving our clay ganesh idol in bucket of water and pour for plants/shrubs.

Glad people don’t celebrate Dunga pooja in tamil nadu by placing idols alike north, so the immersion of ganesh idols alone pollute the water bodies, here.

Sandhya said...

This is Pallavi's comment:

Hi Manni,
I think this is a most sensible suggestion. I agree 100%. We should use natural products to make the idols and the decorations, and do the visarjan in a responsible way.

Sandhya said...

MRS. TJ: Yes, Mrs. TJ! Somebody should take the initiative to build a tank...people should join together in this venture. Then stop buying painted Ganesha. Slowly it will change.

ONKAR: Yes, Onkar!

BIKRAM: Yes, hope people start following this method!

JEEVAN: Yes, we should follow this method. Placing painted Ganesha idols also is not our custom. Do you think they will stop it now?

PALLAVI: I agree with you, 100%! I think many comments should come here and spread their views in this matter. Thank you, Pallavi!

sm said...

Nice article
We need a law which will make it mandatory for everyone to use ecofriendly idols.

Ashwini C N said...

Wonderful suggestion. Seeing the way the idols were treated, what we do at home is to submerge the idol in a bucket of water and then after a week I put it in the garden. Feels bad to see how the same idol that we worship for a week is treated like a toy and thrown about.

Saru Singhal said...

I like your suggestion. It is very environment friendly. Like my mother put all her jyot batti residue in havan khund. She doesn't immerse it in rivers like most north Indians do.

Sandhya said...

sm: Who has got the guts to do that and do you think people will follow? Unless people realise the disastrous effect they are creating, this will never change.

ASHWINI CN: Yes, feel sad watching youngsters breaking them with glee. Many people see to immerse in buckets of water...that is the best method or community immersion like the Bengaluru one is good. Thank you, Ashwini!

SARY SINGHAL: Welcome to my space, Saru Singhal! Earlier population was less and these things didn't matter much. Now, so many idols and other things are there to dispose off. We have to change our views. Thank you!

Jamshed Azmi said...

We need a law which will make it mandatory for everyone to use ecofriendly idols.

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