Nature’s Friend Ganesha
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It amalgamates tradition with one of the greatest needs of modern times — celebrating a festival woven into the city's fabric and ensuring it does not degrade the environment.
The effort of residents of IIT Bombay campus and nearby areas in Powai is aimed at this. The suburb's residents go back to tradition sculpting Ganesha idols from earth taken from near their homes and return it to earth immersing it in a nearby water body.
In doing so, IIT Bombay, aided by students, faculty, residents of Powai and even some corporates, is ensuring that water of Powai lake which was one of the sources of drinking water for the city and is now declared unfit to be consumed, is not degraded further.
"Instead of buying plaster of paris idols that have toxic colours that pollute water bodies and endanger aquatic flora and fauna, participants make their own eco-friendly Ganeshas and take them home. The workshop is an ongoing effort to save Powai Lake by IIT campus residents and residents of neighbouring areas. The idea is to take from nature and return to nature, so that there is no imbalance," said Chaitali Gupta, the coordinator of the project, from IIT Bombay campus.
They will gather on the campus on September 17-18 to create eco-friendly idols and celebrate Ganesh Mahotsav. Organised by the 'Save Powai Lake Team', the project called 'Navsrujan' (new beginning) was initiated in 2003. "Since then, the numbers have grown. Last year, we had over 700 participants and expect huge numbers this year too," said Gupta.
The materials used for the idols include soil from the lake and natural colours. The soil is manually collected from the Powai lake, cleaned of pebbles and kneaded into fine dough. The dough is used to make the idols. "The first few steps are to build the torso, head, legs and hands. We colour it red and yellow. This is followed by addition of cone decorations, and accompaniments (the mouse and modak). Thereafter, the final touches are given," she said.
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