This year, environment issues and fragile communal sentiment are pushing gulal out of the picture, replacing it with the more neutral rose petals.
More than seven mandals around the city have vowed to ban the use of gulal during the Ganpati immersion procession.
Besides being an environment friendly move, the decision is also a mark of respect to other communities, after a minor communal tension erupted last year near MRA Marg and Marol in Andheri where the use of gulal had irked members of other communities.
Ganesh mandals around Dongri, Pydhonie, Azad Maidan, MRA Marg and Byculla have decided to play safe this year.
“A few weeks ago there was a scuffle between hawkers and members of the Umar Khadi Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandal after the former refused to pay vargani (donation) for the festival,” said a police officer from Dongri police station.
“The matter is still fresh on people’s minds. The two groups have come to an understanding with difficulty and we do not want to ignite any tensions by taking any chances now,” said Shamsherkhan Pathan, senior police inspector of Pydhonie police station.
“Gulal is not sacred in some communities and since this stretch has a majority minority population we have decided to shower rose petals during the immersion procession to send out a message of peace,” said Dilip Kale,
member of the Shiv Shambho Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, Narshinatha Street. “Also, gulal is bad for the environment and health,” Kale added.
Like the Shiv Shambho Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, the Shivpratap Mandal, too, will use rose petals instead of gulal.
“This is one of the best ways to build harmony in our locality. We thought if we showed respect for other religions it would benefit the locality,” said Prakash Kusde, member of the Shivpratap Mandal located at Raghunath Maharaj Street at Dongri.