HYDERABAD: What are the catchy songs that released this year? Brush up the tunes, for you may feel like humming them but with a twist in lyrics, when you pass by the streets lined up with giant idols of Ganesha. Ganesh Chaturthi has left an everlasting impression on us since childhood. Offering him our favourite dishes like modak, sweets and snacks before having it for ourselves becomes a habit and also creates a strong bond with him. Be it the large idols put up inside the pandals or the modest setups in our homes, we had all as kids developed an emotional connect with Bappa over the course of the ten day celebrations so much so that we did not want to see him immersed thereby bringing the festivities to a close.
However, as we grew older, we were introduced to the ugly side of the festival. We saw our lakes plead for help. Of course it is also a cry unanimously raised by our environmentalists against immersing the idols given that the paints, dyes and raw materials used severely contaminate the water and choke our local water bodies, eventually leading to various health hazards. It is for this reason that many people aware of these drastic impacts choose not to welcome ‘plastic’ Ganesha into their homes and look for an eco-friendly alternative.
Have you wondered if there was a common solution for both our childhood and self-aware phase issues? Satish Goud, founder of the Akisha Foundation, seems to have one.Satish, through his foundation, has been involved in various charitable activities till date including food donation and medical camps. He has been organising a grand celebration during Ganesh Chaturthi for the last five years during which he also donates food to scores of underprivileged people. This year, his pandal with a giant Ganesha idol has been setup near the Minerva Grand Hotel at Secunderabad and he expects to feed close to 10,000 people. In addition to donating food, Satish will be donating idols of Ganesha that are completely organic which he hopes will serve the dual purpose of protecting our local water bodies as well as promoting the planting of trees.
How cool! Our Ganesha will not leave us go and instead stay with us in the form of plant and also our lakes will not face any mess up due to plaster of Paris. How does his concept work? “The Ganesh statue made of clay is placed on a pot filled with organic soil, seeds and all ingredients required for plant growth. Once you pour water on it, the clay in the statue melts, gets into the pot and after a few days, you will see a plant sprout,” says Satish. With the distribution of these idols, Satish hopes to spread awareness about the alternatives to conventional plaster of Paris idols and also bring Ganesha to the homes of those who cannot afford to buy an idol. “We have ordered 1,500 statues this year and we are giving them all away for free. We are not making any profit out of this,” says Satish.
“Originally when we started out, we found only Plaster of Paris statues. It is also not possible to make mud statues of 16 feet height. So we had to go with what was available in the market. So I thought why not offset it,”he informs.He draws the analogy with the airline tickets fares. For example in flights, due to high carbon dioxide emissions, we are paying an offset fee as part of the airline fare. This fee will be used to promote biogas, solar power and likes of it. It is just to compensate and so salvage to the damage. Similarly Satish thought of offsetting the plaster of Paris statue at his pandal with these organic statues.
“I know it is not good to put up a big plaster of Paris Ganesha, but there is no alternative. We can’t find big clay made Ganesha. With offset concept in mind, I thought of distributing organic ones at my pandal,” he shares. It was with this vision that and after a year of searching, Satish came across ‘Plan A Plant,’ to whom he outsourced the making on his novel idols, aptly called Plant Ganesh, which can stay on in our homes even after nimajjan in the form of a plant. For details of Plan A Plant, call +91 9347 690690 or +91 9348 690 690.