Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lesson 17: India and the Gods of clay...

The Ganapati festival is the harbinger of much happiness. He is also the Lord of Knowledge and Prosperity. Unfortunately, Ganesha too would cringe if he realised his "idols" and devotees are intent on destroying the Universe he perhaps helped create and nurture. Idol-immersion, or visarjan, is a part of most important festivals; particularly the Ganesha festival and the Durga puja that follows about 20-odd days later. In Kolkata, there are competitions on the best idol and best pandal made. From Osama bin Laden to Jurassic Park, the creations are marvellous. On one hand, toxic paints et al are submerged in the Arabian Sea and on the other, into the Bay of Bengal. I COMPLETLEY endorse what our new contrinutor, Citizen Shilpa Nagavara, Bangalore, has to say. Praying to a clay god, does NOT make him/her a lesser god.

The Durga puja is around the corner too, and perhaps it's too late to try and convince Resident Welfare Associations and/or Puja committees to consider safer options -- clay -- while ordering/creating their Durga idols. However, I will try and convince... and will hope that those reading this or involved with the same, will spare a thought.

I will speak for the right cause, but I will find out the details first. That's my contribution today. Yours?

I have the documents needed to prove that the so-called development on the Yamuna river bed is a land-grab scam. However, I would like to clear here that perhaps many companies and agencies are perhaps honestly trying to work towards the development of the river. HOWEVER, creating concrete structures is NOT development. That is eating land, killing the remaining water table sustenance area and ENDANGERING people. I have the proof in hand and so do a number of media houses. Those who don't have, will be provided. PDF files will be prepared and posted. Give me time. IF anyone of you reading this, belong to said companies/agencies that feel you are working towards development and do not understand the "bad press" -- Speak to me. Perhaps certain OTHER bodies (read DDA, government) have lied to you. You are welcome to come see the proof.

The said proof was obtained/received between the period of 17 - 31 August, 2007, under the Right To Information act. It includes commission reports completely refuting ANY construction on the Yamuna, High Court orders prohibiting the same, reports from the seismology departments, flood control and water table recharge departments and a LETTER from the Usha Mehra Committe TO the VC, DDA (31.08.2007) clearly stating "disgust" and requesting the DDA "NOT TO FLOUT High Court" (and that IS a direct quote) orders. The same would be reproduced here.

If those involved in development projects et al can disprove the same, please come and speak up. I will NOT support what is wrong, but when I have proof, I will NOT keep quiet. As I have already replied to an email, come and explain your point, give me the proof, show me the approval documents, and I will be the FIRST to do a positive article. A professional's word. ALL those with information are requested/invited to mail me: Anonymity guaranteed and You Don't Know Who status too. This is important.


Happy Ganesha Festival to one and all. May the lord of knowledge and luck bring peace to the world and prosperity to all. I hope this blog isn't a little too late.

As I was walking home last evening after alighting the bus, the environment was superb. The smell of flowers took me to another world. The colours hadtransformed the drab, dusty road to a garden of sorts. There were plantains of all sizes being bargained. The smell of fresh mango leaves was very inviting. All sorts of fruits had made their way to the markets as well. So, had the garlands made of real and artificial flowers, the vastras made of cloth, paper and plastic. In an under-construction building, there were many Ganesha idols being sold. Each one of them in a different avatar, each one very colourful, each one better than the other. Everyone was busy buying the best to make their celebration memorable.

Ganesha Festival is celebrated with great fervor. The lord, made of soil (gold and silver for the wealthier ones) in all sizes and vibrant hues is brought home, worshipped and sent back. Sent back to where he came from. He is immersed with the garlands and other ornamental wear in the lakes, ponds or wells. There is a huge fan-fare with truck loads of people being part of
the procession, bursting crackers, celebrating. If that wasn't enough there is blaring music enough to deafen any one. The inconvenience caused to the people on the days following the festival is best left unsaid. That is a different story altogether. The point I am trying to make is different....

Not sure how many houses have wells in these days in the cities. So, he (Ganapati) makes his way to the city lakes. Some also immerse him in balti-bhar-pani (bucket full of water) and later drop that water to the lakes or use it to water plants. This happens year after year.

And the so called devotees care zilch about the environment in the process.

Imagine the amount of paint on the idol and the toxic chemicals it might contain. Most of the them are not solvable. They remain as suspended particles.
Imagine the amount of plastic that goes with him into the water in the form of ornamental wear for the lord.
Imagine what happens to the life that survives on this lake water (humans and animals alike).
Imagine what happens to the soil when this water is used to water plants.
Imagine what the fruits would contain. And imagine what happens to you when you consume the fruit/fish.

I have always believed that the saying "Common Sense is commonly missing in common people" is so true, especially in this scenario. What does it take for a man to realise the consequences of his action? Does someone really have to die? And if that happens too, if the victim is not related to me, what do I care? I sympathise. I mean, haven't we caused enough damage already in terms of population, pollution, depleting natural resources, etc? Aren't we seeing the effects in the form of natural calamities? But no, why give up on grandeur?

No, I am not preaching against idol worship. All I am trying to ask is, is it blasphemous to worship the idol of the lord made of just clay/soil? Why does the lord have to be straight out of Karan Johar's movie whose costumes are designed by Manish Malhotra? No offence to anyone but just trying to draw a parallel here. Does Ganapati give lesser blessings if he were ONLY made of clay?

My prayer to the lord of knowledge:
Give us some sense, the ability to judge right, apply thought, be
considerate to others and foresee the results of our actions.
Ganapathi Bappa Moriya!


Care Bear said...

As a child i once asked my mother while on a temple visit,what i should be praying to god.And she smiled and replied, pray for wisdom.Been doing that ever since,recently added strength too with it though.And so religion to me is personal or individual and not following any group belief.

Commonsense if at all does enter in our heads,is deliberately ignored when it comes to religion.People seem to be afraid of religion since it is more of a group than an individual choice and belief.

Its a thought provoking article.Thanks.And welcome aboard,Shilpa.

Angad said...

religion is like a mountain .. in many ways.. makes you sick when you think of the journey up.. but when you're there its pure bliss.

lately though, we've been dumping our uncle chips packets off the side of the mountain and we're left with a view we want to hide.

sadly though, clay gods arent really a solution. mostly because the bright colours that go on a clay body which is baked, are in many cases, especially for colours like red and green, lead and cadmium based. which is pretty toxic. (we have to wear gloves when making glazes etc)

also, most low temp firing, which im assuming the idols would be, are done with coal and wood, and its a reduction firing, which means lots of solid carbon particles and chemicals from the firing process itself.

im not very clued up on the technology that is used for making these idols (i dont mean high tech obv),
but working with the artisans to develop low impact methods isnt impossible, or expensive. if anything, itll probably be cheaper and healthier... i can work on that end here if anyone is willing to do the groundwork with the artisans. :D