Updated: September 11, 2021 6:27:31 pm
In a bid to hammer home the message that the pandemic is far from over, the organisers of a Ganapati festival in Gujarat have modelled their pandal on the theme of Covid-19 and tried to raise awareness about the importance of vaccination.
Ganesh Yuvak Mandal in Vejalpur, Ahmedabad focused on the theme of Covid-19 to build their pandal this year. Lord Ganesh has been portrayed as a doctor wearing a white PPE kit along with a fask mask and a stethoscope. The effort, according to the organisers, is an ode to the healthcare professionals who are fighting the pandemic.
— Nirmal Harindran (@nirmalharindran) September 11, 2021
There has also been a concerted effort to bust myths and misinformation surrounding the Covid vaccines. The idol keeps rotating on a make-shift stage against a hospital painted on the backdrop. A pre-recorded message playing on loop on the loudspeakers tries to address the fears that vaccination can lead to sickness. The message tells people that vaccines are essential to prevent severe infections after contracting the virus.
Talking to indianexpress.com, Prashant Lagad, one of the organisers of the committee, said that the big figure of the PPE-donning Ganapati was built by the organisers themselves.
When asked why they came up with this unique theme, Lagad added, “We have always tried to make a pandal on a theme that deals with a contemporary situation. When in 2019 the surgical strike happened, we had featured Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman. So, it was only natural that we will have a Covid-related theme this year.”
He also said people should not let their guard down during the festive season and continue to follow all protocols. “We all need to get vaccinated as soon as possible, it’s the need of the hour. So we tried to counter some of the misinformation,” he added.
He said that along with playing devotional songs, the organisers have been making public services announcements regarding Covid-19 as well at regular intervals. Lagad said that their initiative about Covid vaccines did get the attention of the locals.
The organisers said that they have made all the festive arrangements keeping in mind the Covid protocols. Giving in to people’s demands, the Gujarat government on Wednesday allowed using Disc Jockey (DJ) music at cultural and religious functions in the state.
The government, however, stated that performing bands will be allowed only if Covid protocols are followed. A public gathering cannot have more than 400 people at an “open” venue, the government has said.