For as long as one can remember, we have enjoyed ten days of Ganesh Mahotsav in our homes before it is time for the idols to return to their more permanent homes – water. It is quite permanent, I assure you, because these idols do not decompose easily. The toxic chemicals in the PoP used is harmful for aquatic life – creatures who are actually living there and need the water for their survival.

And during these days we offer flowers, leaves, fruits, sweets which eventually gets rotten and where do these end, in the water as it’s called sacred and can’t be thrown in the waste bins. But practically we can decompose them and reuse as fertilizers.

Consider this, every year, every house, every society gets an idol home and every year, they do the holy Visarjan in water bodies all over the city. Hundreds and thousands of idols, every year residing at the bottom of the rapidly depleting rivers or lakes.

Traditions are important, no doubt. But in recent times, with global warming becoming a serious threat to the planet, with pollution in air, water, land and skies; let us take a step back to ponder: is it worth it? We will be leaving a broken planet for our children to fix and no tools to fix them with. For what? Our ancestors left us with what they thought was the best for us: our culture. We are leaving our children with a shadow of that wonderful heritage: a wasteland that fails to do justice to the best parts of who we are as a society.

Clean rivers have been replaced with sludge water and we continue to dump our garbage in it. Then, we immerse our holy idols in the same water and go back to our lives thinking we have achieved some divine blessings, when in fact we have done the exact opposite.

We plan for our children’s future with ardent enthusiasm, their schools, careers, etc. yet, somehow, the idea of a safe and happy future does not seem to include clean rivers or fresh air and trees in abundance.

It is late but not too late. Let us all pledge to leave a better home for our children. Baby steps are still a good start and one way which helps in the long run is that we do not submerge Ganesh idols in the rivers – whether they are made of pop or shadumati.  There are special tanks and pools that are made for Visarjan. Use them.

We will do well to remember, “We do not inherit this earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”