Versatile Vinayaka dons the role of Covid vaccinator

Makers of myriad forms of Ganesha Babu (right) with his two brothers Ram and Lakshman
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Makers of myriad forms of Ganesha Babu (right) with his two brothers Ram and Lakshman

Highlights

While Gods and Goddesses are limited by their Avatars as described in the Puranas, Lord Ganesha is perhaps the only deity who transforms himself to suit the occasion.

While Gods and Goddesses are limited by their Avatars as described in the Puranas, Lord Ganesha is perhaps the only deity who transforms himself to suit the occasion. He can be a 'Vegetable Vinayaka' – an idol modelled with colourful veggies and fruits, 'Bahubali Ganesh' – named after film Bahubali, a similar idol was modelled to capture the essence of actor Prabhas's pivotal scene of carrying Shiva Linga on his shoulder, 'Cricketer Ganesh' during any major cricketing event, 'Computer Vinayaka' and the list goes on. Undaunted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which had played a dampener on the Vinayaka Chavithi festivities for the past two years, devotees rose up to the occasion to model Lord Ganesha's Avatar keeping in mind the prevailing situation.

This year Lord Ganesha donned the role of a Covid vaccinator and can be seen vaccinating a patient. The theme behind this is aptly named as Vaccine Vinayaka, which aims to spread awareness over importance of vaccination, the only weapon in humanity's fight against coronavirus.

The Vaccine Vinayaka stands tall, administering doses to the people and those who have taken their shots are seen playing caroms in the corner, while those who neglected the same are seen languishing on a stretcher on the other side.

The makers of this innovative concept are the artisans of the Bommala Colony at Mangalam on the outskirts of Tirupati, who time and again have proved that they can give wings to their creativity, wit and imagination.

However, their creativity is going in vain due to the pandemic situation since last year due to which they could not earn even their livelihood. In fact, each season is worth their livelihood for the whole year and the coronavirus has hit them hard with the restrictions on installing the idols continues for two successive seasons.

The colony, used to witness a beeline of customers not only from the neighbouring districts but also from other states months before the Vinayaka Chavithi festival, presented a deserted look just 10 days ahead of the celebrations this year. As the severity of Covid scenario has come down, the artisans expected good business this time unlike last year and started making idols enthusiastically by procuring all raw material.

The decisions of the local authorities not to allow idols to be installed on streets except in temples, dashed their hopes. However, with the denial of permissions in Tirupati, many people were asking for refund of advances, said the President of Sri Vigneswara paper mesh and terracotta welfare association S Tirumala Prasad Babu.

These artisans make clay Ganesh idols for which the amount of labour and man hours are more than the POP idols. They use a mixture of white clay, paper pulp, chalk, tubers and maida with which the idols dissolve easily and quickly in water. They also use eco-friendly paints. This is another reason for them to run into rough weather as unfavourable weather conditions also hit them hard. Still, the undeterred artisans are hopeful of some favourable decisions from authorities at least during the last one week which may bring back not only the smiles on their faces but their livelihood till the next season.

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