Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Unplanned Durga immerson

After five days of joyous festivity, Goddess Uma or Durga returns to her abode in heaven leaving behind her paternal home on earth. Durga’s coming home ushers in the grand festival of Durga Puja in Bengal and also in other parts of India. Also known as Sharadiya Utsav, this festival starts from Saptami with a holy ritual called Bodhon and ends with Bijoya Dasami when the idol of Ma Durga along with the other idols of her son (Ganesh and Kartik) and daughters (Saraswati and Lakkhi) are immersed in the holy river Ganga as part of the age old Vedic ritual and custom.

Ten to twelve years back there was no issue with the immersion of the clay idol in the river Ganga. But in the recent past, with the voice of the environmentalist gaining ground there has been a huge cry about the pollution of Ganga due to such practice. The environmentalist in this case has a strong reason, which is also scientifically proven. The fact is there are many hazardous chemicals present in the paints that are used in the clay models to enhance their beauty and lustre. These chemicals are very strong and reactive to water. When the clay models are immersed in the water within few minutes the chemicals start mixing with the water and pollute the water.

Ganga being the oldest and one of the most perennial rivers in India has a special significance. Ganga water is daily used by millions of Indians in different ways. Ganga also support large amount of aquatic life. Therefore the pollutions of this river make all these life vulnerable to various kind of disease that can also prove fatal. After lots of debate and argument, the KMC finally stepped in to take few measures to prevent such crisis. According to Fayaz Ahemed Khan, Counselor, Kolkata Municipal Corporation, KMC has arranged for cages on both sides of these ghats. They also have volunteers who will approach those coming for immersion of idols not to throw flowers or other articles or belongings of idols in the water of Ganga.

These measures are showing some results but lot is yet to be done. The KMC and the Durga puja organisers need to sit and chalk out a comprehensive plan how to solve the problem. Most of the responsibility lies with the puja organisers as they need to be more careful with their job. Often the idol makers complain that they are ready to use eco-friendly colours to paint the idols, but that increases the cost of the idol to a great extent, which even the big puja organisers are not ready to pay. This is an unfortunate and callous behaviour on part of the organisers who spend lakhs of rupees on pandal decoration, lighting and cultural program, but is not ready to pay the extra money to save Ganga. KMC on its part also have to be more stringent with their laws and penalties.

Even then this problem will persist. As not all Durga idols are immersed in Ganga and in the Babu, Princep, Bichali ghat etc., instead they are immersed in the several big ponds and lakes to be found across Kolkata and its surrounding suburbs. Many puja organisers reluctantly immerse the idols in such water bodies, which also run the risk of water pollution due to the same hazardous chemicals. Amazingly no one talks about this. It is true that the importance of Ganga in comparison to these small water bodies is immense, but at the same time that fact that these water bodies are also used by many people for bathing, washing clothes, cleaning utensils and even drinking (especially by the section below poverty level) also cannot be ignored.

KMC and the puja organisers also take some pain to think about this issue. This may not concern mass section of the society but definitely the human beings who live and breathe around us.

1 comment:

robseo said...

Yes it is a vital issue that durga idea immersion in ganga river. yes it pollution the ganga water where a lot of kolkata people dependable on this water.if KMC take proper stapes this pollution does not spride.From http://www.ebizzkolkata.com/durgaportal/index.php we hope KMC think thst matter seriously .