Back to Earth!

Back to Earth!

Back to Earth!

The City is busy preparing for the festive season! Craftsmen, markets and shoppers are full of excitement, ready to welcome Ganesha murthis into their homes. There is also a growing awareness on preserving the environment and an increase in sales of mud or clay Ganeshas — from large idols to cute curios.

In order to save the environment, including the lakes, people are on the lookout for brown, earthy eco-friendly Ganesha idols. Apart from the  the traditional clay Ganeshas, idols are also made from other non bio-degradable materials like straw, husk, jute sacks and paper mache.

Mangalanarsimhan of Kamalini Craft Store says, “The clay Ganeshas are more popular than the ones made by other materials because of the traditional aspect.” Kamalini, a group associated with Crafts Council, that has been making clay Ganeshas for about five years now received their first clay Ganesha order on August 21 and requests have been pouring in ever since.

Mangalanarsimhan says, “The lead that the paints contain is extremely poisonous and seeps into the ground water table. Colours also affect kids once they come in contact with them. The moulds have been prepared three months in advance and hence making the clay Ganeshas is not a tedious process.”

NGOs like Eco Watch and groups like ‘TMAD’ have set up stalls to promote clay idols. Clay Station, a City based creative clay studio helps families make clay Ganeshas so that they can take these back home and celebrate.

Karishma from Clay Station says that this year, there has been an increase in the number of families coming in to make clay Ganeshas while last year, there were more professionals  coming in to celebrate the festival with their friends or colleagues.

“Clay models are heavier because of extra water content and take lesser time to dissolve. The process of making the idols is fun and satisfying.”

 She adds that apart from the environment aspect of a clay idol, families tend to spend time with each other through the activity. “Most children miss that family aspect of a community festival.” Badramma, who sells the earthen idols in HSR Layout, has small idols staring from Rs 100 and the Plaster of Paris (POP) idols from Rs 150 and large ones upto Rs 500. She says that clay Ganeshas can’t be made into very big idols as they tend to break. 
Karishma adds, “One of the major advantages of course is protecting the environment. The silt is fertile and goes back to the Earth and can be reused. Though clay idols are heavier because of the water content, unlike POP idols, they dissolve quickly.”

The clay models are also catching up among the young. Kamilini, in order to promote eco-friendly Ganeshas among the young, started a movement called ‘Make Your Own Ganesha’ at institutions like MES College where craftsman helped college students make their own idols.

Deepu, a student says, “It’s traditional to use clay Ganeshas. The epic says that Ganesha came to life when his mother prepared a clay doll and breathed life into it. It preserves the  belief of the festival. Mud Ganesha is shaped as a deity and hence preserves the ecology.”

Hari, a professional, says that paints pollute natural water bodies. “POP idols may take anywhere from several months to years to fully dissolve and these colours such as red and orange contain toxic metals like lead, mercury which seep into the water as the idol dissolves. Devotion shouldn’t lead to destruction.”

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