Ranga Reddy opts for eco-friendly idols
People now prefer purchase of paint-less clay Ganesh idols
Ranga Reddy: As Ganesh Chaturthi is round-the-corner, public must ensure that celebrations take place in a way that does not harm the environment, by avoiding the use of Plaster of Paris (PoP) in the making of Lord Ganesh idols.
Clay artisans in the district have been working overtime to meet the demand for Gowri-Ganesh idols for the festival that falls on August 22 this year.
An idol maker in Shadnagar, Mallesh said that making Ganesh idols is an art and I have been making these idols here for 11 years. We make idols of both Lord Ganesh and Gowri using clay. Making idols is a time-consuming process that involves a lot of labour, he explained.
Speaking about the eco-friendly aspect, he said, "We use only water paints to paint our idols and the clay is brought from a lake in our village. We don't use any harmful chemicals. Even the idols that we make easily dissolve in water and turn into mud. These will not cause any harm."
Another Idol maker of Shadnagar Indira, said that it is a good sign that lately many people are showing interest towards clay Ganesh idols. For the last couple of years, people have been asking for the idols without any sort of paint on them. The demand for plain clay mud idols is slowly increasing as safety of the environment is being given priority, she added.
The Weekend Star Supplement features artisans who have gone green this year with eco-friendly idols devoid of Plaster of Paris and laced with natural dyes and colours.
Despite a slow start, the trend of eco-friendly idols has started gaining pace since the initiative was launched a couple of years ago. The initiative continues this year in a more elaborate manner as there is more awareness among people and an encouraging response from devotees towards eco-friendly initiatives.
The immersion of idols that are made with PoP or are paper-moulded idols cause harm to the nature, marine life and the environment. Many people have realised the need to protect the environment and have moved to installing eco-friendly idols that are biodegradable.
The general public has lately been of the opinion that clay is biodegradable and inexpensive and using it to make the idols will have no serious impact on the environment. After the festivities end, one could immerse the idol in a bucket of water at home or give it to a temple that collects idols for mass immersion, thereby not harming the surroundings.
Why do we immerse idols in water?
The original intent of immersing the idols in water may have been to replenish the environment, rather than to degrade it. It was believed that the clay in the idols would help water settle rather than washing out and leaving the land less fertile. Since the clay needed to be dry for it to settle, hence we keep the idol for ten days before immersion. Idols are typically immersed with 21 varieties of herbs as it is believed that these purify the water and might also have benefits for the marine life to thrive.