Navratri mandals are going beyond the traditional holding of dandiya to put their finger on the city’s social conscience. One has spotted several banners across the city, with mandals espousing the importance of pledging one’s organs. They are spreading awareness about organ donation and encouraging revellers and even others to pledge their organs.

Given the high visibility these mandals have, and the popularity of this festival, this effort will certainly be fruitful. There will surely be more curiosity and awareness about organ donation, which still seems obfuscated in myths and ignorance. So every effort clearing the air about the issue is welcome.

Maybe, more mandals can take up different causes as a social responsibility during festivals. Earlier too, several Ganpati mandals rooted for different causes from blood donation to organ donation and a focus on the girl child. A festival, with different aspects — the religious, the celebratory and as a social magnet, can serve as a powerful propeller for people to find their ‘inner voice’ so to speak and get conscious about giving back to society in a small way.

There are so many causes that could be touched upon. There can be awareness about diseases like cancer (the importance of early check ups could be stressed) and AIDS.

Mandals could also get creative with their causes, organise competitions, encourage crowd participation and make eye-catching banners.

The cynics might scoff at the effort calling it a publicity stunt but if it does spread awareness and correct information, then that’s a battle won. A doff of the hat for the mandals who are mixing responsibility with revelry and doing this.