We are a generation that gives importance to creativity. Instead of seeking opportunities, today’s youth are creating opportunities for themselves. The growth of social media has contributed a lot to this newfound thinking. It has given the space for people to explore and indulge in their creativity like never before. Just last year, despite there being a pandemic, we’ve seen the rise of many talented youths, more creative than previous generations. For Thrissur native G. Harish, finding his creative self and nurturing it proved to be a turning point in his life. He, however, sought out his creative inspiration from Lord Ganesha by making eco-friendly Ganesha idols from scratch.
An ardent devotee of Lord Ganesha, Harish loves to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi every year. Earlier, he would often find himself buying Ganesha idols made out of Plaster of Paris (POP) for the pooja. While celebrating the festival gave him immense joy, he wasn’t too happy about the pollution it created, especially in water bodies.
Harish shared, “I noticed the changes in water bodies after the Visarjan of idols made out of POP. I soon realised that it posed a threat to the living beings in the water. So I to started think of making the idols with mud. But, the lands around hardly had fertile mud. Such mud is not suitable for making the idol.”
That’s when Harish had a light bulb moment. If not mud, he could use waste newspaper to make the idols.
The Eco-friendly Idea
Using old newspapers, paper tapes, Fevicol (with fewer chemicals), watercolour, velvet cloth that doesn’t have plastic content and cardboard, he was able to create his first eco-friendly Ganesha idol. He enthusiastically shared, “I posted my idol photos on social media and the response from the public was good. So I started making more Ganesha idols. People wanted these idols made for them. Since 2018, I have been doing this and still continue to do so.“
So far, Harish has received two records and one title for his eco-friendly Ganesha idols. He bagged the India Book Of Records for making ‘Largest Best out of Waste’ Ganesha Idol by an individual. He was also honoured with the title ‘Grandmaster’ from the Asia Book Of Records for making eco-friendly Ganesha idols with waste newspaper. His most recent award was from the Harvard World Record, which he achieved for making the maximum number of ‘Best Out of Waste’ Lord Ganesha Idol from Waste Newspaper.
Speaking to PinkLungi about his achievements, Harish enthusiastically commented, “My family, relatives, friends, and neighbours were so happy. Even I was extremely excited about receiving such big awards. I was honoured by many organisations, associations, political parties, etc. Many well-known personalities like T.N.Prathapan M.P sir, Suresh Gopi M.P sir, K. Surendran sir, Counsellors from Thrissur came to my house to honour and wish me. It was a really glorious time for me. Those occasions will always be a diamond period of my life.”
Harish owes the growth of his talent to his parents H.Ganesh, an All India Radio A Grade Mridangam Artis and Jyothi Ganesh, a homemaker. “The support from family gave me energy. And support from Prasad sir, my art teacher, who works as the Art teacher in Hari Sri Vidhya Nidhi School was also a huge factor,” Harish added. Apart from making Ganesha idols, Harish also plays the Mridangam, Keyboard, Harmonium, Dolak, Ghatom, and Chenda. On a normal day, you’ll find him working on a mural painting and creating different kinds of art. It’s safe to say that this 12th standard student is multi-talented and how.
Harish’s environment-friendly idea has sparked an initiative to protect nature. He has shown us that festivals can be celebrated in an eco-friendly manner, without a dent in the joy and excitement. It isn’t too late to join the bandwagon. Let’s adopt eco-friendly means to celebrate both small and big occasions. If people like Harish are making a difference, let’s encourage and adopt it.