Thursday, September 7

The Battle of Kurukshetra (updated)

After immersion, the bodies of kings lie scattered across the battlefield.

(This is the morning after a Hindu festival in Bombay where statues of Ganesh are immersed in the sea.)

· · · · ·

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: — Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies…
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away. [Link]

Update: More photos.

Related posts: Dunking Ganesh



 Comment feed
  1. 1Patrix

    This is sad! :(

  2. 2Ashish Gupta

    Pathetic! I never imagined it would be so crude. Where is the Shiv Sena who would go on rampage when a wife’s statue was blakened? If this was done with non-Hindu, it wouldn’t have been long before riots broke out. Our own Lord is lying like this…Che che..

  3. 3Ashish Gupta

    *by* non-Hindu

  4. 4Paavani

    This is what happens. :(

  5. 5jana

    i’m impressed that there was one traditional murti (as in, made of clay and straw) in the midst of those plaster of paris idols. keep in mind, only a few have returned with the tide. there are probably a few bobbing away to dubai because PoP i’m told is not bio degradable.

  6. 6Saheli

    Oh! Plaster of Paris? That’s why they don’t just dissolve. Sad. I’d rather have a very tiny one so he can dissolve painlessly into the ocean than a big ostentatious one.

  7. 7brown

    How far away is your abode from the beach, Manish?

  8. 8DesiDancer

    your pictures make me want to buy a plane ticket. sigh.

  9. 9brown_fob


  10. 10brimful

    Maybe sad, but the pictures are quite lovely.

  11. 11manish

    How far away is your abode from the beach, Manish?

    Not too far.

    PoP i’m told is not bio degradable.

    There was a push for green Ganeshs this year, but it doesn’t seem to have gotten very far.

    Thanks, brimful…

  12. 12Filmiholic

    Wow, Manish, it’s like looking at the Technicolor victims of a plane crash or boat capsizing. Must be something terrifying to behold after dropping acid…

    I had always imagined that they are just left there ’til they dissolve; seeing the photos of them being bulldozed was almost shocking at first.

    It is a pity that they can’t be made out of more eco-friendly materials, but I guess then there’d be an uproar from a Plaster of Paris mafia…

  13. 13pramendra

    कितनी दु:ख की बात है जिनकी पूजा की आज उन्‍ही को लतिया रहे है। हे राम

  14. 14Milarepa

    All worldly pursuits have but one unavoidable and inevitable end, which is sorrow; acquisitions end in dispersion; buildings in destruction; meetings in separation; births in death. Knowing this, one should, from the very first, renounce acquisitions and storing-up, and building, and meeting; and, faithful to the commands of an eminent Guru, set about realizing the Truth. That alone is the best of religious observances.

  15. 15Ameya

    why is this sad? It’s not the idols themselves that mean anything to us. I think it’s a very strong symbolic gesture, but afterwards you obviously have to deal with the logistics. It would be nice if they made them out of something soluble though.

  16. 16Tarliman

    I believe that we should not avoid sorrow, but understand it. Life is pain. Fine, but you cannot avoid pain. Sorrow and pain are part of living. To avoid the sorrow of death, should we avoid birth? But then how would we attain enlightenment, without a life in which to learn and grow? These images of Lord Ganesh and others, crumbling in the wake of celebration and being bulldozed to make room for more, remind us that nothing in this life is permanent, but that we should celebrate our lives nonetheless. Cherish what we have while we have it, in the understanding that it will not last, and that sorrow and joy are two sides of the same coin.

    Thank you for posting these beautiful photos.

  17. 17Stephanie Q

    Tarliman, that was so elegantly put. They are descriptive words to the story in these photos.

  18. 18Bethel

    I agree with Ameya whole-heartedly. Do you think Siva cares if some PoP idols lie crumbling on the beach? It’s no offense to the gods, but to our own materialistic sensibilities.

    Was the bulldozer pushing them back out to sea???

  19. 19Sriram

    All this stuff that is washed out is quite sad, but on the flip side the take is that the PoP is
    reused. The raw material is harvested back and used again. Now isn’t something
    better than nothing?

  20. 20Ross E. Lockhart

    Breathtaking. Mind a link?

  21. 21artefacto

    sad, but POP

  22. 22Blair

    this has so much beauty in it. i almost cant handle it.

  23. 23ada

    That the gods come back might be a sign they have not left you.

    Some of the photography is wonderful. however beyond this I find the quiet statements of another’s faith touching.

    Without this event I would not have been aware of same.

    There is something peaceful about Ganesh washed by tides.

  24. 24ash

    This is ridiculous, they have to start making the statues with more eco-friendly material or else there will be no environment left, leave alone another festival!

  25. 25mlomeister

    I agree that the gods would care less about the end results of some festival idols - but I’m sure they’d find fault with our carelessness and lack of respect for the earth.

  26. 26Courtney

    I’ve got to agree with Ada — these spectacular images comfort me. I can’t help but feel overwhelming peace, continuity (”I live not alone but am a portion of the whole”), and hope.

  27. 27utterdoul

    Sad. Its time to stop and think for a moment and get rid of all those layers of superstious beleifs and pratices and politics of religion and go back to the essence. Seek God or Enlightenment within you, not in all this rites and rituals. These were devised over the centuries as a political tool to subdue the unthinking masses into submission. If you have half a brain, THINK! And Awaken!

  28. 28john weeks

    Plaster of paris littering the bottom of the sea is the least of our worries. It IS natural and quite harmless.
    With a skyline like that nearby, you should be on edge about the certainly millions of gallons of untreated human waste in the water, not plaster.
    Ganesh is not the problem, we are.

  29. 29hari sadu

    publication of photos showing damaged ganapati idols is banned by the mumbai police. buddy, be careful about publicising such photos

  30. 30Pundi-Biddy

    I enjoyed the photos a great deal and really believe that these images demonstrate the power of faith (whatever it means to you). While the physical manifestations of the gods lie in ruins on a beach, they were nevertheless invoked and for a brief moment and flourished. They’ll be back next year. I especially love the attention to detail of both, the statues and the photographs. Kudos.


  31. 31sujata

    this is sooooooooooo sad irreverance towards the God and Nature in the name of GOd. We need to think of using bio degradeable substance to make
    idols of Gods or else think of nature friendly ways of immersion.

  32. 32Hemaworstje

    So sorry to dissapoint you all guys , but God does not exist.

  33. 33ravi kumar

    Below is a snapshot of 25 comments from the blog and their general content.

    negative - environment 9
    positive - aesthetic 4
    positive - religious 4
    political - critical 3
    political - environment 2
    political - threatening 1
    positive - environment 1
    positive - nostalgia 1

    It is offered to highlight couple of principles which are easily recognized
    but not easily accepted.
    1. Any debate obviously has many angles.
    2. The opposing ideas to one’s own ideas are not objectively reviewed
    because of our own screen of experience and bias.
    3. There is always a stray wild voice which will try to bring the quality of
    the debate down by use of intimidation, false counter evidence and
    4. The evidence on display can be twisted to justify exactly the opposite
    5. Where identity (Cultural, Social, Religious, Political etc) is
    questioned, those debates are the ones that take the longest to start, and
    the most difficult to solve.

    My view, it is pathetic, this immersion business.
    It is not just Mumbai, it is happening on a much bigger and frequent scale
    in Kolkata / Bengal etc.
    Saraswati, Vishvakarma, Durga, Kali …

    Holi and Diwali are no exceptions either.

    “Why do we need so many Gods?”

  34. 34Radha Charan

    Now I know what my next project is with my existing one. Please visit our website and find out for yourselves. Jai Ganesh Ji

  35. 35prakruti

    sad but good photographs..
    when I grew up they used to make small Ganeshjis with mud..Now its a huge festival with Ganeshjis on every street and people competing to make larger and larger Ganeshjis..Either people are becoming more religious now than my grandma’s generation? or its more for the pomp…whatever it is , its sad to just leave the idols they worship for ten days so grandly left unattended and discarded..

  36. 36Sameer

    Nice pictures Manish. Nice because, each individually is a well composed picture that tells the story.

    This is an area where the sarvajanik mandals need to self-regulate… and do it quickly. The mandals must insist on clay idols. Most mandals are economically well-off to afford the slightly dearer clay idols. Otherwise I am all for state intervention to lay down guidelines.

    However, it is important to note that this year, due to the floods, a lot of the clay used for traditional idol-making was scarce, hence expensive. So it was natural economics for the idol-makers to go in for the cheaper option. But as I said, the bigger, influential mandals have to show the way. They have the resources for it.

  37. 37Dwerd

    You guys should know; I dreamt of this. Thousands of broken statues, like legos, on a beach with houses and palm trees. I think something bad is about to happen.