Pune: While patri (specific leaves) are a very important part of worship in most of the Indian festivals, including Ganeshotsav, environmental activists have been claiming that the patri sold and used these days are not authentic - the ones that are traditionally supposed to be used.
To address this issue, Biospheres, an NGO working for the conservation of biodiversity, has organised a campaign this year to spread awareness about ‘patri literacy’ among Ganesh mandals and common people.
“We have been working for the past four years to spread ‘patri literacy’ among Puneites. In Ganesh pooja, we need leaves of 21 different plants. However, the patri available in the markets is hardly authentic, containing leaves of plants that are not supposed to be used. So we have started this campaign to make people aware of what leaves to use, and what not to use,” Sachin Punekar, Founder President of Biospheres, said.
He also said that plucking the wrong kind of leaves for patri has an adverse effect on the environment. “Instead of using the leaves that are supposed to be used, people end up plucking the leaves of endemic rare plants, damaging them in the process. Many of such plants that are used instead are Bhui Amarya (Ground Orchid), Chavar (Indian Arrowroot), Kachora or Gauriche Haat (Wild Turmeric), Bharangi (Turk’s turban moon), etc, which are endangered in nature. So, damaging these plants is harmful even for the biodiversity based on them,” Punekar added.
Biospheres has spread awareness among 21 popular Ganesh mandals in the city, including five Manache Ganapati, Shrimant Dagdusheth Ganapati, Akhil Mandai Ganapati, Rajaram Ganapati Mandal, etc.
Punekar added, “Along with the mandals, we also spoke with common people and gave away pamphlets to them. With each passing year, we are also trying to spread the message to as many people as possible.”