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Lord Ganesha. Credits:Poets Revenge

A person living in any corner of the world will be able to define India as a melody of  beautifully celebrated festivals. Though disguised as an emerging world power, India prides itself with its ancient religions, customs and civilizations, which compose the country’s symphony of celebrations. One of those colorful festivals celebrated with huge pomp and show, dressing up the land resplendently for all eyes to see is Ganesh Chaturthi, a ceremony held in the honor of the Hindu deity Ganesha.

Hyderabad is famous for its effort to please the Lord. The Khairtabad idol is famous all over the continent and almost every lane and by-lane in the city honors the Lord with a contribution of its own. Children, enthusiasts and orthodox people belonging to the guild of followers start their donation campaigns as early as June.

But then, the festive atmosphere often makes people forget that they are knowingly vitiating a God given resource, our famous and historic Hussains Sagar, popularly known as the Tank Bund. The simple reason being the immersion ceremony of the Lord’s idols made out of Plaster of Paris (PoP), painted and scented with virulent chemicals that can easily exterminate the marine eco system of the lake. Everyone knows this fact but still it ridicules us to know that no one bothers to do anything about it. Efforts have been made my numerous NGOs and also the government to educate people regarding this matter. In spite of the disastrous 2005 lake tragedy and constant persuasion, people refuse to learn.

“I sometimes doubt if fanaticism towards religion is to be feared because when we’re opposed to everything else but the pride of our God, it is mostly the dangerous path that we tend to choose”, says Krishnakanth, a student of Aurora Institute. “The beauty of the idol matters and we get paid more for the glittering ones”, says Shiva, a businessman. Uday Kumar, a veteran in the business of selling idols. He says that nothing can be done at all to change people’s mindsets and make them turn towards using idols made out mud and clay. He adds that it is the government’s responsibility to provide natural colors to the idol makers and legalize their usage.

In Hyderabad, the workshops exist mainly at Dhulpet and at Uppal and Nalgonda, where works of the Delhi based artisans can be seen. “I do not understand the importance of erecting such huge idols. I am a strong believer in God and Ganesh Chaturthi is very special to me, but I’m happy that my family has realized the extent of destruction and started using clay idols for the rituals”, says Anand, a student of IRSEC. “Would it displease God if the immersion took place at my home and in a tub of water? It is the purity of the heart and involvement with God that matters and not the money put into the celebration”, says Ms.Indira Devi, a retired media person. Maybe even the Lord himself despises white cement and PoP destroying the lake.

The owner along with the idols.  Credits:Poets Revenge

The owner along with the idols. Credits: Poets Revenge

Decoration. Credits:Poets Revenge

Decoration to place Ganesh idol. Credits: Poets Revenge

Idol in the trailer. Credits:Poets Revenge

Idol in the trailer going for 'nimarjana' - immersion. Credits: Poets Revenge

The GHMC records prove that millions of rupees have been spent into the cleaning of the lake after the immersion process takes place. Because PoP and white cement do not dissolve in the water but give out poisonous residues, which lead to decrease in the water level and increases the growth rate of water clogging algae rapidly. It is estimated that at the rate at which the algae is growing, it will cover the whole lake by 2014 if proper care is not taken.

We, the residents of Hyderabad, now face a crisis. It is for every civilized human being to take up the challenge and educate others as well as themselves to protect and care for their own environment. The Hussain Sagar is one of the few so called fresh water lakes left in the city. It is a privilege to enjoy the serenity of the lake as one drives by the Lumbini Park or stops by for lunch at Eat-Street. It is time for everyone to push away idleness and invite ideas for idolness.

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