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DURGA PUJA AND EFFECTS OF IDOL IMMERSION


Pinky Borthakur

India is a multicultural country of myriad festivals. People in India are followers of different religions but as a whole we all celebrate numerous festivals together. As the year passes on and nears the months of September and October, a spark of joy creeps into the hearts of all the people in India. Some festivals got over recently such as Vishwakarma Puja, Ganesh Chaturthi and some are in the pipeline such as Durga Puja, Diwali and so on. Happiness fills each and everyone’s heart during Durga Puja. People adorn themselves to welcome Goddess Durga on earth once again after a mournful year of divine separation.

 

The festival of Durga Puja marks the victory of Goddess Durga over the evil buffalo demon Mahishasura. Durga Puja epitomizes the victory of good over evil. Her appearance is also interpreted as an embodiment of famine power in Indian culture and society. Durga Puja begins on Shasthi on the request of the earthlings and descends on earth. On Shasthi, idols of Goddess Durga are installed in the worshipping place with special pujas and customs.

 
After ten days, the mega festival of Durga Puja comes to an end with the immersion of the idols into a water body. Beautifully carved and decorated idols are drowned into water bodies like rivers, ponds and lakes with prayers for success, happiness and peace. However, amidst the celebration, people tend to forget the ill effects of idol immersion. Nowadays the idols are made from Plaster of Paris which gets a nice finish due to easy and handy spray paint. But a bitter truth behind the scene is that these idols do nothing but harm our environment and ecosystem.

 
When they come in contact with water it becomes poison. The result is contamination and death of marine life. Plaster of Paris doesn’t dissolve easily in water and hence the idols float on water after immersion. The chemical paints which are used to decorate the idols, contains heavy metals such as mercury and lead. And unfortunately the same water is consumed by people.

 
So it’s now high time that everyone should maintain certain guidelines, whether during making of the idols or during immersion. Idols should be made of natural clay. Even the colours used must be water colours. The second step one should follow is that a ditch filled with water could be dug up near the river bed so that instead of immersing the idols on the rivers we can immerse the idols there to prevent contamination of the entire river water. We as devote should understand that if we do not respect nature than we can never respect God.

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