Mumbai students from different faiths come together to create eco-friendly Ganpati idols

160 students created Ganesha idols made of clay and natural colours during a workshop at Juhu Gandhigram Municipal School.

mumbai Updated: Aug 17, 2017 09:29 IST
Yesha Kotak
Yesha Kotak
Hindustan Times
Students during the workshop.(HT)

Halimuddin Ansari, a Class 7 student, was first in his class to prepare a Ganesha idol made of clay and natural colours during a workshop at Juhu Gandhigram Municipal School.

 Like Halimuddin, 159 other students from different religions participated in the workshop. “The students are already aware of the ecological damage owing to various festivities, but they need a chance to do something for the society. That’s why we have provided a platform to them,” said Tania Dias, founder of In a Nutshell Foundation, which conducted the session.

Dias added that the activity wasn’t conducted to propagate a particular religion, but to spread awareness on how plaster of paris (PoP) idols harm the environment.

“It isn’t about faith. These kids were rather made to understand that various parts of Ganesha’s body give out a message: for example, his tusk signifies resourcefulness and sacrifice,” said Dias.

To understand how these idols are eco-friendly, one student immersed one idol in a bucket. They were also asked to use natural colours, such as tamarind, and ensure that decorations are removed before the idol is taken for immersion.

“The purpose of conducting the workshop was to teach co-existence among various communities because festivals bring people together irrespective of their religion,” said Vaishali Kotwal, an associate of the school. “Students also suggested that they can sow seeds in the idol and plant a sapling later,” Kotwal added.

Renu Hansraj corporator of the area, backs the use of eco-friendly idols.

“We have been conducting beach clean-ups after immersion for three years. It is a really sad sight to see how idols after being venerated for 10 days are left on the beach. We are left with two options: either volunteer to clean the area, or opt for eco-friendly Ganesha idols. The second option is what I would choose because we are already dumping a lot of waste in the sea,” said Hansraj.

First Published: Aug 17, 2017 09:29 IST