Photos: Mumbai potter tackles Covid-19 crisis crafting Hindu idols

Since the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic clobbered Yusuf Zakaria Galwani’s pottery business, he turned to a Hindu deity Ganesha to revive his fortunes by making environmentally friendly idols for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Activists have long criticised the practice of immersing the idols in the sea, arguing it contributes to water pollution. Galwani has designed his idols to disintegrate quickly and turn into soil. They also contain a seed inside which can germinate if watered like a plant. Galwani has received orders for 800 statues until now and hopes to bounce back economically amid the coronavirus crisis.

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST 7 Photos
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Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani (L) along with his colleague, works on the idols Hindu deity Ganesha at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Dharavi, Mumbai on August 15. After the coronavirus pandemic hit his pottery business, Galwani turned to a Hindu god to revive his fortunes by making environmentally-friendly Ganesha idols for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani (L) along with his colleague, works on the idols Hindu deity Ganesha at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Dharavi, Mumbai on August 15. After the coronavirus pandemic hit his pottery business, Galwani turned to a Hindu god to revive his fortunes by making environmentally-friendly Ganesha idols for the upcoming Ganesh Chaturthi festival. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST
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A potter takes out a Ganesh idol from a mould at Galwani’s workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. Potter Galwani works with his two brothers in the Mumbai’s Dharavi to create 13-inch-tall statues out of terracotta clay. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

A potter takes out a Ganesh idol from a mould at Galwani’s workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. Potter Galwani works with his two brothers in the Mumbai’s Dharavi to create 13-inch-tall statues out of terracotta clay. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST
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Galwani’s staff work on clay idols of Ganesha at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. Ganesh Chaturthi festival which kicks-off on August 22, traditionally ends with devotees leading massive processions to the Arabian Sea to immerse elaborately decorated figurines of the much-loved elephant god into the water. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

Galwani’s staff work on clay idols of Ganesha at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. Ganesh Chaturthi festival which kicks-off on August 22, traditionally ends with devotees leading massive processions to the Arabian Sea to immerse elaborately decorated figurines of the much-loved elephant god into the water. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST
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A potter uses a blowtorch to dry the hands of Ganesha clay idols at Galwani’s workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. This year’s Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are expected to be muted, with authorities in the virus plagued city urging people to mark the 10-day festival at home in a bid to ensure social distancing. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

A potter uses a blowtorch to dry the hands of Ganesha clay idols at Galwani’s workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. This year’s Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are expected to be muted, with authorities in the virus plagued city urging people to mark the 10-day festival at home in a bid to ensure social distancing. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST
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Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani takes measurements while working on a Ganesha clay idol at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. “As our pottery sales dwindled, I decided to make Ganesha statues... as a means of survival and also to promote environmentally friendly (alternatives),” Galwani told AFP. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani takes measurements while working on a Ganesha clay idol at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. “As our pottery sales dwindled, I decided to make Ganesha statues... as a means of survival and also to promote environmentally friendly (alternatives),” Galwani told AFP. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST
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Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani (L) along with his staff, works on the clay idols Hindu deity Ganesha at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. “Every year, we see huge Ganesha statues made from plaster of Paris washing up on the shores after the immersion. This affects our local environment and marine life as well,” Galwani said. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

Potter Yusuf Zakaria Galwani (L) along with his staff, works on the clay idols Hindu deity Ganesha at his workshop in Kumbharwada, Mumbai on August 15. “Every year, we see huge Ganesha statues made from plaster of Paris washing up on the shores after the immersion. This affects our local environment and marine life as well,” Galwani said. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST
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A potter checks the size of an immersion pot for a clay Ganesha idol at Galwani’s workshop in Kumbharwada on August 15. Galwani’s clay creations are designed to disintegrate quickly and turn into soil. They also contain a seed inside which can germinate if watered like a plant. Sold for 1,500 rupees each, Galwani has received orders for 800 statues so far and hopes to see his neighbourhood bounce back economically after tackling the virus. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

A potter checks the size of an immersion pot for a clay Ganesha idol at Galwani’s workshop in Kumbharwada on August 15. Galwani’s clay creations are designed to disintegrate quickly and turn into soil. They also contain a seed inside which can germinate if watered like a plant. Sold for 1,500 rupees each, Galwani has received orders for 800 statues so far and hopes to see his neighbourhood bounce back economically after tackling the virus. (Indranil Mukherjee / AFP)

UPDATED ON AUG 19, 2020 08:52 PM IST
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