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  Life   More Features  20 Sep 2018  Teach for Ganesha

Teach for Ganesha

Published : Sep 20, 2018, 12:42 am IST
Updated : Sep 20, 2018, 12:42 am IST

Three Ganeshotsav Mandals in the city are collecting stationery for students in tribal areas of Maharashtra through knowledge boxes.

Siddhivinayak Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Kamathipura
 Siddhivinayak Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Kamathipura

The ten-day Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations are at its peak in the city and mandals are leaving no stone unturned to make a statement with their innovative concepts year after year. This year, in an effort to do something different, Team Parivartan, an NGO that works towards various social causes has come up with a unique idea to promote education through these festivities. Ganeshostav mandals rake in huge sums of money every year with devotees contributing generously and coming in large numbers to pay obeisance.  Seeing this as an opportunity, the NGO approached several sarvajanik mandals in Mumbai, requesting them to place gyaan petis or knowledge boxes along with the moneybox. The idea behind this initiative is to collect books, pencils, erasers and stationery items for children in tribal areas of Maharashtra. The proceeds from this collection will go to the Dhuta Madhyamik Vidyalaya in Latur and to the students in tribal areas near Kalyan and Titwala.

 Ganesh Idol at Vasantdada Patil CollegeGanesh Idol at Vasantdada Patil College

Tushar Warang, a member of the Parivartan Foundation proposed this idea to his team after coming across a similar initiative on Facebook. “So I thought this festival was an opportune time to try this in our city. My team and I approached around seven Ganeshotsav mandals initially, but we received lukewarm responses. The indifference was mainly because people didn't want to forgo their donation boxes. Sadly, some pandals even asked for something in exchange of this collaboration,” he shares.

However, the team was not let down and three Ganesh mandals from the city — Datta Raul Maidan Ganesh Mandal at Dadar, Siddhivinayak Ganeshotsav Mandal at Kamathipura in Mumbai Central and the Padmabhushan Vasantdada Patil Pratishthan's College of Engineering in Sion agreed to partake in this cause.

While most mandals have not given up donation boxes completely, Tushar says it’s a big win, considering they’ve even agreed to place the knowledge boxes without asking for anything in return. “It takes time to convince people to do something different and win their trust,” he says.

Sion  and Gyaan Peti at the Datta Raul Maidan Mandal in DadarSion and Gyaan Peti at the Datta Raul Maidan Mandal in Dadar

At the Siddhivinayak Ganeshotsav Mandal in Mumbai Central, the organisers have placed the gyaan peti above the donation box to catch peoples attention, informs Parshuram Vasamani, a member of the group, “There are a lot of kids who can’t afford an education which is why we collaborated with the NGO. We have also spread the word on our social media pages, and have put up banners outside the pandal to let people know. The responses have been great so far,” he shares.

The people at the Vasantdada Patil college of Engineering have forfeited their moneybox this year and have made the knowledge box their only receptacle. “Every year we keep a donation box but this time we wanted to give back to the society, so we removed the donation box and are asking people to give us books and stationery this year. Even our idol is eco-friendly” says Ganesh Ghuge from the NSS unit of the college.

Even though this initiative might be off to a slow start, Gauresh Kadam of the Datta Raul Maidan Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal feels hopeful,  “The basic idea of this festival itself is to get people together and bring about change. We do that every year in our mandal and this year is no different. Everyone can donate money, but we are promoting education here.” The mandal even has a seven-feet-high Ganesha idol that is made entirely from clay to promote eco-friendliness. “The idea is to help those in need. People who have easy access to these resources may not know the importance and necessity of it. There are lakhs of kids in the adivasi areas who are deprived of education. We are just trying to place a thought in front of people to ponder upon,” he concludes.

Tags: ganesh chaturthi, eco-friendly, sarvajanik mandals, tushar warang