While some people may be of the opinion the Ganeshotsav is all about blaring music and lighting, there are some mandals whose themes will cause such people to reevaluate their opinions. From stressing the need to join the armed forces to attracting attention to the rise in the juvenile crime rate, the Ganesh mandals are taking endeavours to spread social messages through their themes.
The theme of the 124-year-old Kalbhairavnath Tarun Mandal, which is located on Ganesh Peth, is ‘Paanichi Udyachi Disha’ (Water’s Future Road), through which they advocate waste water treatment. “While the government is taking steps to improve the water condition in rural areas, the people of the city continue to waste water. We have set up a mini-model of sewage treatment that gives demos of sewage and waste water treatment. The theme also displays rainwater harvesting and why it should be made compulsory for everyone — from individuals to housing societies to industries. Unless we take measures to save and recycle the existing water, we will not be able to address the water problem with which we get gripped every year,” said Umesh Sapkal.
Another mandal batting for the social cause is Sainath Mandal Trust, whose theme talks about the topic ‘Join Armed Forces’. The president of this 57-year-old mandal, Piyush Shah, came up with the idea when he came across a newspaper article that talked about the armed forces dealing with thousands of vacancies. Around 45 days ago, the mandal members started working on the theme, which not only includes display but also live performance by the mandal members. The performance revolves around a rescue operation by the army officers. In the past also, the mandal has touched upon various social issues such as sexual abuse, organ donation, garbage segregation and food adulteration.
Hanuman Shinde of Maharashtra Tarun Mandal, which is situated near the Laxmi Road, informs that the mandal’s theme this year talks about the problem of juvenile crimes. “Children these days are getting introduced to things like smoking, drugs, drinking, hukka and other wrong things at a very early age. These things, directly or indirectly, contribute to them committing big and small crimes. One of the reasons is that they are getting neglected by their parents. Through our theme, we want parents coming to our mandal to make note of the problem and take precautionary measures.”