Indian expats in Dubai call for eco-friendly conclusion to Ganesh festival

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Lord Ganesh idol displayed at the shpps in Bur Dubai near Hindu temple during the on going Ganesh Chaturthi festival. 8th September 2019. Photo: Ahmed Ramzan/ Gulf News
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Dubai: After the seventh day of Ganpati Visarjan (a Hindu ritual in which the deity’s idols are immersed in water bodies in a farewell gesture), an occasion that fell on Sunday, members of the Indian community are appealing to their compatriots to observe decorum and discipline for the bigger immersions coming up on September 10 and 12, corresponding to the 9th and 11th days of the festival, which are the closing days of the Ganapati festival.

The emphasis this year is on eco-friendly idols and pollution-free celebrations.

Many families in Dubai observe the Ganesh festival and idols are also kept for public display in community events by the Shiv Temple in Bur Dubai and at the Danat Al Rolla building on Rolla Street, Dubai.

Dial down the noise and pollution

Dinesh Khiara, an Indian businessman and prominent representative of the Thattai Bhatia community in Dubai who has been installing the Ganesh idol at home for the last 12 years, explained: “The deity’s idol is welcomed into homes on the chaturthi day (fourth day of the waxing lunar calendar). After that, people as per their convenience, can immerse the idol in the sea or any other water body on any of the remaining days of the festival – 1.5, 3, 5, 7 , 9 or 11th day.”

While there was a substantial rush in the by-lanes of Bur Dubai leading to the Dubai creek on Sunday, the seventh immersion day, the biggest immersion days are the 9th and the 11th.

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“I am appealing to people to not create noise pollution or clog arterial roads. This beautiful country has been generous enough to allow us to practise our religion freely, we must keep in mind their Islamic traditions and conclude the festival in an orderly manner.”

Opting for eco-friendly idols

The emphasis on eco-friendly idols is high in Dubai and many families prefer keeping pure mud idols painted in vegetable colours.

Dhanashree Patil from Dubai, who has been celebrating the Ganesh festival in Dubai for the last seven years, told Gulf News: “We stopped immersing the plaster of Paris Ganesh statue in the creek for the last five years. That has become our permanent idol which we wrap and preserve after the festival to be used again the next year. For the traditional immersion this year, we have a 100 per cent eco-friendly idol made of Shadu clay which we will immerse at home. It takes one and half hours for the idol to completely dissolve in water.”

At Manoj Costra’s home in the Danat Al Rolla Building, Bur Dubai, a 2X12 feet Plaster of Paris Ganesh statue adorns the living room. Every year for 11 days, the Costra joint family of 10 members celebrates Ganesh Chaturthi. However, they do not immerse this statue in the Creek but do a symbolic water immersion at home and then carry the statue to their factory.

The Costras also keep an eco-friendly idol for immersion. “I make sure people who immerse their own idols do not pollute the creek with flowers, fruits, sweets, coconuts. Only the mud idol is immersed in the water.”

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“We want people to be more mindful this year and make sure they do not abuse the generosity of the rulers and conclude the festival in an acceptable manner,” added Costra.

What is Ganesh Festival?

Ganesh Chaturti or Ganesh Festival celebrates the arrival of deity Ganesha to earth from a celestial mountain abode, accompanied by his mother, deity Parvati/Gauri. The festival falls during the months of August or September based on the lunar calender. Ganesh idols are installed in homes and propitiated with offerings and hymns, and on the 10th day, the idol is bid farewell by immersing it in the sea, river or a water body.

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