Mumbai, Sept.5 (ANI): Actor Shahid Kapoor launched biodegradable Ganesh idols here this week with an aim to promote an environment-friendly festival.
During the festival, Ganesha idols are worshipped in hundreds of makeshift tented enclosures before they are immersed in water bodies.
Kapoor attended the event at the Lala Lajpat Rai College, where students cheered him as he danced to a song from his upcoming film, "Phata Poster Nikhla Hero", which has Ileana D'Cruz as his leading lady.
Kapoor launched the Times Green Ganesha (TGG) campaign, which endorses the usage of recyclable materials and products.
"This is a great cause, and I feel that we are spreading awareness among the right generation. We should protect the environment, take safety measures. We must be aware. We should use bio-degradable materials like clay and immerse them at environment friendly places," he said.
An initiative by The Times of India, the Maharashtra Environment Ministry and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), TGG intends to cut down on the pollution caused by the idols, which are usually made of plastic and plaster of paris and painted using poisonous dyes.
Elaborately painted and decorated idols are worshipped before they are taken during mass processions to rivers, lakes and the sea, where they are immersed after performing Hindu rituals.
Statue remains from festivities from last year still float in rivers and water tanks in Mumbai, where the annual festival culminates with the immersion of some thousands of statutes-some up to 25 feet high-by millions of devotees.
Traditionally, idols were made from mud and clay and vegetable-based dyes were used to paint them.
Legend has it that Hindu Goddess Parvati created Ganesha from a perfumed putty-like substance, used to remove dirt from her body in an ancient self-cleansing ritual, the equivalent of a modern bath.
Suspecting her fidelity, Parvati"s husband Lord Shiva, one of the three most powerful Gods in the Hindu pantheon, flew into rage and beheaded the young lad. This left Parvati in distress and rage.
When Lord Shiva realised that the boy was created by Parvati, he brought him back to life by slaying an elephant and giving him the animal's head. Thus was Ganesh created.
He is regarded as "Vinayak", the God of Knowledge and as "Vigneshwara", the remover of obstacles. (ANI)