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Window Seat: Lord Ganesha

5/09/2021 at 8:35 AM

Ganesha is the most fascinating of the deities of Hindu pantheon. With a head of an elephant, a mouse as bahana (carrier), pot belly and love for laddu and modaka, Ganesha is the most endearing God.

Why does Ganesha carry an elephant head? Legend tells the tale of Goddess Parvati who made baby Ganesha using sandalwood paste and asked him to guard the entrance while she took a bath. When Lord Shiva wanted to enter, Ganesha would not even allow him to pass through. Lord Shiva, enraged by this, severed the child’s head. When Goddess Parvati realised what had happened, she was overwhelmed and heartbroken. This is when Lord Shiva promised that he would bring baby Ganesha back to life. He went on to instruct his followers (ganas) to search for the head of the first living creature they could find to replace on Ganesha’s body. However, the ganas could only find a baby elephant’s head. That is how Lord Ganesha came back to life with the head of an elephant. Lord Shiva named him the leader of the ganas, or Ganapati.

Ganesha is conferred upon the right to be worshipped first. He is worshipped before any major enterprise. He is the patron of intellectuals, bankers, scribes, and authors. Legend has it that it was Ganesha who wrote the Mahabharata as Vyasa Muni dictated it. He is also considered to be the remover of obstacles- bigna binashaka.

In some parts of India Ganesha is depicted as celibate, but in others he is said to be married to both Buddhi (Intelligence) and Siddhi (Success). Yet other traditions give him a third wife, Riddhi (Prosperity).

Ganesha puja is celebrated across the country. However in Maharashtra the celebration reaches the next level. Last year Corona proved to be a dampener. This year too, we might see a repeat.

Mangrove forests cover fading fast

“Mangroves are an important bulkhead against climate change: they afford protection for coastal areas from tidal waves and cyclones and are among the most carbon-rich forests in the tropics.” In the face of rising sea levels (in many parts of coastal Odisha and West Bengal the impact is visible) and changing climates, coastal buffering against negative impacts of wave action will become critical and will play an important role in climate change adaptation.

Mangrove ecosystems, which make up less than 0.4% of the world’s forests, are being lost at the rate of about 1% per year (FAO, 2007); in some areas, the rate may be as high as 2 to 8% per year. From 20% to 35% of the world’s mangrove area has been lost since 1980 according to a 2007 FAO report.  The rates of loss are highest in developing countries where mangroves are cleared for coastal development, aquaculture, timber and fuel production. Experts believe that in as few as 100 years, the world’s mangrove forests may become so degraded and reduced in area that they would be considered to have “functionally disappeared”. That would be catastrophic. We need to take urgent steps to protect the mangrove forest.

Read more about the present state of mangrove forest here: http://www.travel-impact-newswire.com/2013/08/unep-environmental-alert-global-mangrove-forest-cover-fading-fast/#ixzz2eVJpSZxg

Royal Enfield Motor cycle: An Indian icon

Amrit Jha, my student at the Dhenkanal campus of Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) has recently published a book on Royal Enfield Motorcycle. Titled Indian Icon: A cult called Royal Enfield and published by Westend Books- it is a fascinating saga of a mean machine that has acquired a cult status. The book also tells the story of rebuilding a sagging brand and repositioning it in a fiercely competitive market.

I personally do not like this monstrous of a bike which is also a loud-mouth creating a thud-thud-thud sound of high decibel. My son does. So much so that he has named his motor bike Rangabati (after the famous West Odisha folk song) and went on a solo west India tour spanning a dozen states.

After reading this book, I could appreciate the mad love (isn’t it an oxymoron? Love is and supposed to be always blind) some people have for this bike.

Tail piece: Surround Sound

Define surround sound.

Santa answers: Wife in the front seat of the car, her mother and sister in the back seat!

(Courtesy: Social Media)

About the Author:

Journalist turned media academician Mrinal Chatterjee lives in Dhenkanal, Odisha. He also writes fiction and plays.

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