Mumbai

Making idols from cow dung, this doctor pushes for an organic Ganeshotsav

Back to basics: Ganesh idols made from cow dung are on display at Dr. Dudhal’s Ayurvedic shop in Kharghar.

Back to basics: Ganesh idols made from cow dung are on display at Dr. Dudhal’s Ayurvedic shop in Kharghar.   | Photo Credit: Yogesh Mhatre

Kharghar resident says eco-friendly idols will be converted into natural fertiliser once immersed in water, promote local cow breeds

Kharghar-based doctor Navnath Dudhal, who quit his job at Tata Memorial Hospital after 25 years in service, has now dedicated his life to spread awareness of living an organic life to fight the menace of cancer and of conserving local cow breeds.

And now, he has found a novel way to make Ganeshotsav eco-friendly using dung produced by desi cows. This year, Dr. Dudhal has started making Ganapati idols out of cow dung and is selling them at his Ayurvedic shop.

A strong believer in Panchagavya — benefits of cow dung, cow urine, milk, curd and ghee — Dr. Dudhal has been researching ways to use these products in day-to-day life. “In one such method, I applied cow dung on my car in summer last year, and found a major difference in temperature inside the car. This year, I tried to take it further and make Ganapati idols out of the dung,” he said.

Revenue for civic body

Dr. Dudhal said the idols are a good alternative to the environmentally hazardous Plaster of Paris ones, and suggested they can be immersed at home in a bucket. The water can later be used as a natural fertiliser. “In fact, the municipal corporation can earn some revenue if everyone immerses these idols in a pond, generating fertiliser that can then be sold. When immersed in the sea, the cow dung dissolves and generates bacteria, which helps marine life,” he said.

Making idols from cow dung, this doctor pushes for an organic Ganeshotsav

Dr. Dudhal makes the idols at his workshop in Osmanabad, his hometown, where he also trains people in the work for free. It takes a little over a week to make the idols. “Fresh cow dung is put into moulds with a little bit of dink (vanaspati gum) to hold the dung together. It takes close to nine days for the statue to dry completely,” he said.

Chemical-free Ganapati

Dr. Dudhal said some customers asked him to paint the idols, but he refused to do so as it would mean adding chemicals to an organic idol. “I have suggested that if one can find natural colours, they can be used on the idols.” Beyond being organic, he said, the idols are lightweight and inexpensive.

The statues range from three to 10 inches in height, with shortest costing ₹50 and the tallest selling for ₹350. “The three-inch one is a good car accessory too, as it keeps the air cool and sends out positive energy,” he said. Dr. Dudhal has delivered orders to Bengaluru, Mumbai, Pune and Gujarat.

When asked if anyone had objected to the idols being made from cow dung, he said, “Cows are holy for Hindus so how can anyone have a problem with its dung? Most importantly, this initiative is intended to promote local cow breeds over jersey cows.”

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Printable version | Jul 3, 2020 7:30:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/making-idols-from-cow-dung-this-doctor-pushes-for-an-organic-ganeshotsav/article29293698.ece

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