Ganesha of All Things

Ganesha of All Things

The Shivgarjana Mitra Mandal in Thane’s Utalsar area is known for its original themes for Ganesh Chaturthi festival. The association has won an award from TMC every year since 1987, for the creative and imaginative decorations.

Each year, the association erects the Ganesha pedestal with innovative items. This year, the theme is "good health through medicine". The pandal has been built in the form a "hospital" using various medical items such as Tablets & Capsules, Tonic bottles, Injection Syringes, Distilled water, Glucose bottles etc., The hospital is complete, with ICU and OPD sections. Even a miniature ambulance is parked outside the hospital.

The decor can be summed up in one word: wonderful. The expression on every visitor’s face is that of awe. The rear side of the pandal has a Ganesha idol depicted in capsules of different colors. A Ganesha idol placed in the "ICU" has been created using a hot water bag, ice bag, glucose bottle, and stethoscope, injection, scissor, needles, gloves, cotton and kidney tray.

Mr. P M Rana, president of the association says, "We take the Ganesha Festival very seriously. It is a time for community celebration. We try to use this opportunity to spread a social message for the betterment of our society at large".

Another highlight of this year’s decor is the group of posters put up across the pandal with health related messages ranging from as simple as importance of cleanliness to the ill effects of smoking, drugs and alcohol. Even AIDS and Polio have been covered. According to Mr. Rana, "These messages are aimed at the youth and teenagers who are in an impressionable age."

The discipline maintained at the pandal is quite commendable. In 1999, the Police commissioner of Thane presented them with 1st prize for best public security. "It has always been a joint effort of all members of the association", says Prasad More, one of the active participants of the association.

In the past they have used such varied articles such as pencils (sponsored by Camlin), Key chains, earthen pots, school stationary items, toys, chocolates and pearls. In 1998 they had created a chariot made out of concrete slabs. They have been fortunate enough to find some sponsors who supply these items free of cost.

Once the celebration is over, the products used are either given back to the supplier or donated for a good cause. For instance, the toys used in 1993 were donated to a school for handicapped children. 15,000 pencils, sponsored by Camlin, were distributed among the various Adivasi children all over Maharashtra. In 1999, school stationary was distributed to various municipal schools in and around Thane.

Such acts of kindness are rare and this is undoubtedly what the spirit of festival is all about.

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