Over the last few days, the number of coroners in Mumbai has been increasing rapidly. However, at the same time, Mumbaikars have forgotten about preventive measures. The Chief Minister has been repeatedly urging the use of masks to prevent the spread of infection. But citizens are not ready to pay attention to it. On the contrary, many Mumbaikars are engrossed in planning how to celebrate the festivals that come with Shravansari. Public Ganeshotsav is the biggest festival in Mumbai. In the atmosphere of tall Ganesha idols, magnificent scenery, queues for darshan, day and night immersion procession, Mumbapuri is in full swing. This year, once again, the question of plaster of Paris idol has come to the fore.
Once upon a time, an idol of Ganesha was being made from shadu clay. Gradually the number of public Ganeshotsav circles and household Ganapatis increased and the sculptors tended to make instant Ganesha idols out of plaster of Paris. Most of the sculptors started making Ganesha idols out of plaster of Paris by pounding the shadu clay. However, environmentalists began to object to the ill effects of the plaster of Paris. After the immersion of Ganesha, the issue of threat to biodiversity due to plaster of Paris came to the fore. Finally, two years ago, the Central Pollution Control Board announced a ban on plaster in Maharashtra. Meanwhile, Ganeshotsav was approaching. Most of the sculptors had made Ganesha idols. Due to the sudden ban order, issues arose as to what to do with the plaster of Pariser Ganesh idol and how to make shadu idols in a short period of time.
The sculptor, taking into account the sentiments of the devotees, finally decided to postpone the implementation of the ban order temporarily. As a result, the loss of sculptors was averted and Ganeshotsav also passed properly. The following year, however, the issue of a ban on plaster of Paris came up again. The demand made last year and the experience of the extension received has once again begun to choke the sculptors with knots. Some sculptors began to demand alternatives and bans. So once again the execution was extended and the lives of all the sculptors fell into disarray.
Due to the restrictions imposed by Karona for the last two years, the tall Ganesh idol could not be realized. Ganeshotsav has to be celebrated following strict restrictions. It is in the minds of devotees. All restrictions were lifted after the third wave of corona subsided. Therefore, the joy that all the festivals including Ganeshotsav can be celebrated this year was spreading in the minds of the devotees. But now the fourth wave has begun. It is unknown at this time what he will do after leaving the post. However, the office bearers of all public Ganeshotsav Mandals are still preparing for Ganeshotsav. Sculptors have also made plaster of Paris idols of Ganesha this year. So even this year, there are signs that the implementation of the ban on plaster of Paris will have to be postponed to avoid damage.
Sculptors have repeatedly demanded that eco-friendly Ganesha idols be given concrete solutions and that plaster of Paris be banned. But this is their pure argument. It is equally true that the central government has not been able to come up with a concrete solution. The government should have taken care of this when it ordered the ban two years ago. Failure to do so has led to the embarrassment of extending the term.
In the last few decades, public Ganeshotsav circles in Mumbai have been competing to make tall Ganesha idols. Devotees stood in line for hours and started taking darshan of the tall Ganesha idol. Growing crowds and fundraising became a matter of prestige for the circles and created a different kind of jealousy. It is not possible to make a tall Ganesha idol out of shadu clay. Due to the weight of the clay, it is very difficult to take the idol to the place of immersion. The plaster of Paris sculpture is lighter than that. As a result, the use of plaster of Paris for sculpture increased. A few years ago, a woman corporator who became the mayor of Mumbai tried to restrict the height of the Ganesh idol. But he was beaten by his own party. It must be said that the attempt failed due to lack of political will.
Currently, the issue of pollution is on the rise. The environment in Mumbai has already deteriorated due to deforestation, rising temperatures, dust, traffic jams and increasing noise pollution. Therefore, the citizens themselves need to be aware. But the number of wise citizens is relatively small. There is a large group in Mumbai demanding a ban on plaster of Paris as it will affect their business. But are these churches willing to suffer the consequences of pollution? Even if its dangers seem small today, no one should assume that they will not increase in the future. If steps are not taken now, it will be difficult to control the results in a few years. Maybe you and I won’t have to suffer much from it. But the next few generations will certainly suffer. Those who are pushing for the implementation of the ban should also clarify who will be responsible for this.
Someday the plaster of Paris will have to be completely banned. So why not today, if you want to avoid future dangers, you have to make tough decisions today. Now it’s time. Citizens should also think about these things. Otherwise, the ban will remain on paper and the proceedings will continue.
prasadraokar @ gmail. com