Pune’s Ganesh mandals with a difference
Year after year, most Ganesh mandals in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad have tried to impress the city by putting up giant-sized pandals, large Plaster of Paris (PoP) idols, elaborate lighting and decorations, and of course, blaring music. Forgotten in all this is the spirit of social service with which Lokmanya Tilak initiated the Ganesh Festival. Some mandals, however, have focused their attention to create social awareness in the truest sense.Updated: Sep 03, 2017 16:27 IST
Zunjar Ganesh Mandal: ‘Save the tree’ Tree Ganesha
Taking up the message of ‘Save the Tree,’ the Zunjar Ganesh Mandal at Chikhali decided to create a Ganesha out of ecofriendly materials and paint it with natural colours. The idea was put forth by the mandal president, Akshay Mhetre. “God is present in nature, in trees, and hence, instead of the traditional idol worship, we came up with this concept of Tree Ganesha,” he said.
The ‘Tree Ganesha’ was made of entirely ecofriendly materials such as the truck of a tamarind tree and the deity was painted with natural colours. This idea received good support from the people who visited the Ganesh display in large numbers.
The mandal also decided not to waste money on hiring a music system and loudspeakers for the immersion procession. Instead, they plan to use the money collected for a tree plantation drive . The mandal plans to plant 100 indigenous trees around their premises.
Mandals go greener in Koregaon Park
Every year during Ganesh Festival, the nirmalya (flower offerings) like garlands, durvas and flowers are immersed in the river along with the idols. This year, Ganesh mandals in Koregaon Park, Ghorpadi, Mundhwa and Keshavnagar decided to make a difference and not pollute the rivers. Under the Swacch Bharat initiative by BJP corporator Lata Dhayarkar, they have deployed a vehicle to collect the nirmalya from nearby mandals and housing societies. This vehicle makes daily rounds and collects garlands and flowers from each and every mandal, housing society and even from households. Such was the demand for this initiative that an additional vehicle had to be pressed into service. The collected nirmalya is being dumped in a big ditch on a barren land at Manjari, on Pune’s outskirts. “This nirmalya will be processed after the festival and will be used as compost and distributed to farmers,” said Dhayarkar.
Tulshibaug Ganpati helps students of night school
The fourth most illustrious, or ‘Manache Ganpati’ – Tulshibaug Sarvajanik Ganpati Utsav Mandal - has offered a helping hand to students of a night school. The mandal will sponsor the fees of the students who can’t afford to attend the school due to financial constraints. The Mandai, Tulshibaug Patsanstha and Cutlery and General Merchant Association also handed over cheques of ₹25,000 each to Sarasavati Vidya Mandir’s Night School and Abasaheb Atre Night School towards this end. Vidya Mandir’s principal Avinash Takavale and Atre School’s principal Vijay Suryawanshi appreciated this initiative. “This assistance will definitely motivate the students, who are in dire need. This is a good initiative and should inspire other mandals too,” said Takavale.
Breastfeeding room for mothers at Chhatrapati Rajaram Mandal
Many mothers with infants, especially from rural areas, come to seek blessings of the most revered Ganesha idols in the city. For years together, they have faced enormous inconvenience while breastfeeding their babies in the overcrowded streets and lanes of the Peths. Giving a thought to their need for privacy, the Chhatrapati Rajaram Mandal in Sadashiv Peth, one of the oldest mandals in the city, created a breastfeeding room. This room was recently inaugurated by MLA Medha Kulkarni.
“Several devotees from villages and nearby talukas visit Pune during the festival. This facility will help mothers with infants,” said mandal’s president Yuvraj Nimbalkar.
Konkane Mitra Mandal welcomes birth of the girl child
The Konkane Mitra Mandal at Pimple Saudagar has taken up ‘Save the Girl Child’ as its theme this year. This mandal has been presenting a cheque of ₹5,000 to homes in the area with a newly born girl child. “We have welcomed 20 newly born girls in this way,” the mandal chairman Ulhas Kokane said. This mandal’s previous initiatives were to set up a library for senior citizens, blood donation camps, tree plantation drives, and organising food for the poor. This mandal’s ‘Nirbhaya Mahila Manch’ also organised several programmes for the empowerment of women.
Ganesha made up of Bamboo products
The Sanyukt Prasad Mitra Mandal in Narayan Peth focused on making Ganpati idols from forgotten objects of daily use. Thus, they made an idol of 27 different types of bamboo products including a lamp, fan, bowl, pot and basket. Bamboo products of varied sizes and shapes were used to make the idol’s arms, legs, and trunk. Bowls were used to make the feet, crown and head of the idol and two winnowing fans made the ears and a series of colourfully painted bowls made a necklace for the idol.
Every year, the mandal celebrates Ganeshotsav in an ecofriendly manner and makes idols out of different objects which can later be dismantled. In the past, this mandal has made idols out of trophies, cycle part, automobile part, musical instruments and sports equipment.
Speaking to Hindustan Times, Ajit Paranjpye, the mandal’s president said, “Every year, we celebrate the festival with environmental concern. Throughout the year, the mandal’s members suggest novel ideas for the idol and an idea is finalised two months before the festival. We return all the objects used in making the idols to their respective owners without causing any damage and so people are ready to give them to us.”