Fish friendly Ganesha!

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Krupa Shah from Mumbai, a skilful artist and a mother of three daughters, has created an eco-friendly Ganesh idol from red soil, alum, organic colours and homemade fish food!

Every year, more than 2 lakh Ganesh idols are immersed in Mumbai alone. Since most of these idols are made of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and painted with heavy pigments, the paints containing heavy metals seep into the lakebed, thereby harming the aquatic life. To bring about a change in the existing situation, Krupa Shah wanted to create a Ganpati idol that would not disturb the aquatic ecosystem or pollute the water. Installed in her residence in the cultural hub of Mumbai, this Ganesh idol, when immersed after a day and a half of celebration, will act as sustenance for the aquatic life.

Krupa has personally called her friends and family to come and visit her place for this one-of-its-kind eco-friendly fish-friendly Ganpati.

Being a Jain, Krupa is also following her Jainism rituals alongside celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi. Taking a step forward to contribute to the environment and help the special children of the city, Shah has urged her visitors and fellow devotees to offer stationery items to Lord Ganesha as an alternative to sweets, cash, or coconuts. Post the celebration of the festival, the stationary items will be distributed among the underprivileged children as a way of giving back to society.

Her family and friends supported this special initiative. They have quoted that it’s a unique concept since no one in India has come up with the idea of creating an idol out of fish food. The concept was also well received and appreciated by her neighbours, friends and family who visited her place. Krupa has urged the devotees to celebrate the festival without causing any harm to the aquatic life and instead of making use of eco-friendly materials while creating the idol.

While making a difference in a meaningful way, Krupa Shah, the creator of the first-of-its-kind fish-friendly Ganesh idol, said, “We have been celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi since a couple of years. But this time, my daughters and I wanted to do something different that would not just satisfy us but prove helpful to society as well. Talking about her idol, on the day of immersion, the mud will melt inside the water, alum will dissolve and purify it, and the fish food will be consumed by the fishes, without causing any damage to the environment!”

Besides this initiative, Shah has also been conducting workshops to teach school and college students the art of making Ganpati idols out of eco-friendly materials. Shah’s aim is to diminish the harmful effects of Plaster of Paris (PoP) and toxic paints made with chemicals that create the largest amount of water pollution. She adds, “A small change or contribution can make a big difference.”

Having dabbled in different forms of art – fabric art, watercolours, sculptures, and glass paintings, Shah likes to go back to sculpting and hopes to create art with ‘purpose.’