Eco-Friendly Ganesha: Taking Home the Message of Green Celebrations

25th August 2011

What do you get when you have more than 200 children playing in the mud? Let’s rephrase that: What do you have when there are more than two hundred school boys playing with mud? Plenty of dirty uniforms, heap loads of muck and playtime that sees no end: these are probably the first images that would pop into anyone’s head. 

However, what would have greeted you today at St. Dominic Savio’s High School, Andheri, would be a refreshing surprise! The elements were 200 plus children and clay for each child, but the results were magnificent: more than 200 clay idols of Ganesha! Most of these were on par with the idols one sees lining the fronts of shops and stalls!

Throughout the 2-hour workshop on Eco-Friendly Ganesha—conducted by the Young Environmentalists Programme Trust—all the students, at their boisterous and creative best, could be seen toiling away at moulding their little idols. The students came from three schools: St. Dominic Savio and Holy Family High Schools from Andheri, and Don Bosco High School from Borivali.

Irrespective of age, all of the children were equally interested in making the best Ganpati idol they could. For most of the students, this was a first-time experience, and even for the organizers and volunteers, the eagerness with which the children worked was impressive. As one of the organizers stated, ‘I did not think they would make such amazing idols. I thought they would just make really simple ones, like one ball of clay atop the other’. How wrong that turned out to be!

Not only were the idols made of biodegradable natural clay, most of the students also used natural decorations on their Ganpatis. These included pulses, lentils, rice, leaves and flour. What struck us was that those who did use of non-biodegradable decorations said that they would remove them before immersing the idol. One of the students aptly summed up the mood at the workshop, ststing that the children had realised that we should give back to Mother Earth what we take from her.  While all the Ganapatis were special for each of the students, the competition saw Ajay Singh’s (Holy Family, Andheri) idol winning the first prize for his excellent craftsmanship, attention to detail and creativity.

The event, the first of its kind for the GreenLine team, was a lovely learning experience. We thank Fr. Crispino for the premises and permissions, all the teachers and students who participated in the workshop, and the resource persons from the Young Environmentalists Programme Trust for a memorable session.


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