As Ganesh Charturthi falls at the end of the monsoon season, villagers would gather bits of clay that had washed up around their rivers. They would worship this clay in their homes (as a celebration of the fertility of the Earth), and then return the clay to the river. As the practice evolved, the clay was molded into shapes of idols and, of course, Lord Ganesha.
The modern explanation, however, has more political roots and can be traced to Bal Gangadhar “Lokmanya” Tilak one of the early leaders of the Indian Independence Movement. Tilak, a staunch Hindu nationalist, popularized Ganesh Chaturthi as a public holiday associating the “removal of obstacles” with the removal of the British Raj.
Sadly, the original (small) natural clay idols have
been eclipsed with fancy plaster of paris and plastic idols which are ecologically toxic on several levels.
So far, 4 states (Tamilnadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa) have banned
immersion of plaster of paris idols in waters. Religiously speaking, the
immersion (Visarjan) is a send
off of Ganesha to Kailash. On a philosophical level, it can be said that we give a shape to “God”
that which is infinite and formless through the Earth’s clay and mud, invite
and worship this form in our home, and then release this image back into the
water to become formless once again.
Will Sharmila Jagan contest from Hyderabad? Accordingly Sharmila, who had earlier headed the Telangana unit of YCP, is nowhere in the scene now in the Telangana polls. Meanwhile Jagan has announced that YCP would stay away from the Telangana elections, the move said to have irked Sharmila and her followers in the party.
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