Tomorrow, Mumbai will see Ganpati idols moving towards beaches, ponds and lakes as visarjan begins. In scenes familiar to Mumbaikars by now, the streets will be thronged by lakhs of people, as the city bids a sentimental farewell to the elephant-headed deity.
A couple of years ago, this paper had carried a front-page photograph of a girl getting molested in the crowd at Lalbaug on the final day of Ganeshotsav. Let women’s safety and security be a priority this time round. Since it is a Sunday, managing traffic will be slightly easier than on weekdays, but that does not mean we can throw discipline to the wind.
Mumbaikars must exercise caution and respect others on the road. Mindless running across streets, speeding and trying to overtake slow-moving, heavy vehicles carrying Ganpati idols is a no-no. As a commuting city, we all have a stake in our roads and there must be an accent on following traffic rules.
Revellers must be very careful when in the water. Every year, we read of people drowning in waters during immersion time. Some years ago, two persons had drowned in Panvel when they had gone to immerse the Ganesh idol. They were poor swimmers, and both of them lost their lives evetually — one of them perished while trying to save the other from drowning.
Sometimes, weak swimmers overestimate their prowess or underestimate the current and go out too deep for immersion. At other times, the push and pull in the crowd results in some injuries. Finally, one hears about inebriated people going out into the sea, bravado fuelled by alcohol. This results in people going out too far and losing their lives in the process.
It is time devotees take responsibility for their safety. If in a group, somebody should be entrusted with carrying a basic safety kit. Adhere to lifeguards’ instructions and police rules during immersion. A calm, orderly visarjan is the best way to ensure an accident-free immersion. Ganpati bappa morya.