Ganesh Visarjan: 'Picture abhi baaki hai', says Amrita Rao. Here's why
Bollywood actress Amrita Rao was present for the cleanup at Dadar beach on September 13, 2019, with environmentalist Chinu Kwatra
The festival of Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated once a year in the month of August or September. As everybody welcomes Ganesha with great pomp and show, what happens once the festival is over causes a lot of harm to the environment. 'From dust, we are born, unto dust, we shall go,' is a saying which should hold true but it doesn't because of the POP idols which are used. In a chat with Bollywood actress Amrita Rao and environmentalist Chinu Kwatra, mid-day online journalist Saumya Gourisaria talks to them about their initiatives such as 'Eco Bappa Morya' and 'Go Green Ganesha' challenge.
What are the changes you have noticed since you have been celebrating the festival since childhood?
Well, I can say that a lot has changed but there are some things that yet need to change. This year, the number of idols which have been found in the sea has reduced, which is a piece of refreshing news to hear. But what needs to change is the bombardment of loudspeakers, dhol which is not necessary. I have been a part of Visarjans and I used to celebrate it will talams and prayer book and claps. But things like showing off, not letting the traffic pass-through is a hassle for the old and sick as well as animals.
How do you feel when you look at the beach after the Ganesh Visarjan?
When I was making the Eco Bappa Morya video, I spoke to environmentalist Chinu Kwatra and he said something which stayed with me. That is everybody who performs the Visarjan in the public sea (because it belongs to all of us) should come back the next day too, and try and find their Ganesh idol. It would appear to be neglected entirely.
Earlier, we used 'shaadu' maati which is 'aangan ki maati' and would perform the visarjan in the well outside the house. It was all so natural and beautiful. Hence, we have to go back to that and stop using POP idols.
What is your ideal way of celebrating the festival?
I would love to go back to the times when women used to make Ganpati with turmeric flour. Now, we can also have Ganpatis made of silver and gold. This is how I do it. My Ganesha comes outside once a year for two days and those days are really maintained as if the God is with us. After the prasad and 'naividya', the Visarjan is done in a bucket and then the idol is kept in a secluded place in the house. It only comes back a year later and it really feels like 'the friend is back!'
I would love to go back to using cymbals and hear the sound of those traditional aartis. I would definitely not like to hear an instrumental version of a Bollywood song. It happened last evening and it was heart-breaking.
What is the change that you noticed in the awareness after your pre-Ganpati campaign?
The reduction in the number of POP idols which have been found in the sea shows that, through a digital medium like mid-day, a lot of change is happening. Eco Bappa Morya has not come to an end with the festival, Now is the time to take it to the strata of the society who needs this education. Like they say, 'Picture abhi baaki hai mere dost,' Eco Bappa Morya has to go a long way.
What is your vision towards 2020?
I really want people to understand the difference between wet garbage and dry garbage and they should know how to segregate it. It's a huge issue and I really want to take it to that stratum of society who needs it.
We need to come out with the right rules. Fortunately, our government is up for it, our Prime Minister has his priorities in the right place to offer a brighter future. So I am really looking forward to a Green 2020!
Lalbaugcha Raja the popular Ganesh idol of the 'Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal', makes its way towards Girgaun Chowpatty for visarjan (immersion process). Pic/Atul Kamble
Lalbaugcha Raja as a tradition is organised by the Kamble family every year, who have a workshop by the name of 'Kambli Arts' in Lalbaug, Parel. The immersion procession of Lalbaugcha Raja in the morning at Lalbaug, Parel. Pic/Manjeet Thakur
Thousands of devotees throng Parel Cha Raja (Narepark) as it proceeded towards visarjan. As the city geared up for Ganpati Visarjan, police in the state put in place elaborate security measures, including crowd control. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
In Mumbai, the immersion of Ganesh idols took place at 129 places including Girgaum Chowpatty, Shivaji Park, and at Juhu, Aksa, Versova and Marve beaches of the Arabian Sea. Lakhs of Mumbaikars participated in key processions like that of 'Lalbaugcha Raja'. Pic/Pradeep Dhivar
Reportedly, there are 5630 Sarvajanik Ganpati all over Mumbai and more than 32,000 household Ganpati idols. There are 129 places earmarked in Mumbai for immersion of the idols. Pic/AFP
For the immersion of Ganpati in 2109, as many as 56 roads were declared as one way. To monitor the crowd more than 5000 cameras all over the city were placed. In three points, drones were being used to regulate and monitor the situation; the points were - Juhu Chowpatty, Girgaum Chowpatty and Powai lake. Pic/AFP
In picture: Raj Kapoor's son Rajiv Kapoor attended the Ganpati Bappa aarti and puja at Ashtvinayak Mitra Mandal at Chembur Naka. Pic/Sameer Markande
Rajiv Kapoor pays his respects and offers prayers to Lord Ganesha at Ashtvinayak Mitra Mandal at Chembur Naka. Pic/Sameer Markande.
Kalachowki Ganesh Idol on Chinchpokli rail over bridge. Pic/ Pradeep Dhivar
In picture: Devotees of Lord Ganesh during the Visarjan that took place at Girgaum Chowpatty. Pic/ Shadab Khan
In picture: Devotees pay their respects to Lord Ganesh during the Ganesh Visarjan at Girgaum Chowpatty. Pic/ Shadab Khan
The Ganesh Visarjan takes place on a grand scale in the evening at Linking Road, Bandra. Pic/Rachna Kanwar
Mumbai Police was on their toes manoeuvring traffic across the city. Pic/Rachna Kanwar
A picture of Lord Ganesha statue taken from a top angle during the Ganpati Visarjan in Mumbai
In picture: Lord Ganesha's idol as Ganesh Visarjan took place in the suburbs of Andheri East in Mumbai, Pic/Utsav Joshi
In picture: Devotees throng the idol of Lord Ganesh during Visarjan in Andheri East, Pic/Utsav Joshi
In picture: A grand idol of Lord Ganesh during the Ganpati Visarjan near Paradise Cinema in Mahim, Mumbai, Pic: Sunny Rodricks
Devotees thronged to various parts of Mumbai to take part in the 'Ganesh Visarjan' procession. Anant Chaturdashi, also known as Ganesh Visarjan is a festival that occurs 10 days after Ganesh Chaturthi. Here's a look at the Ganesh Visarjan that took place across the city of Mumbai. Pictures/mid-day photographers, AFP
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