In 1893, freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak urged the people of Maharashtra and India to celebrate Ganeshotsav as a public event in order to show unity against the British. I have heard this numerous times since my childhood but it is only this year that I am really able to understand the true feeling behind the meaning of this festival.
Just recently, the whole of India protested and fought with social reformer Anna Hazare against the government for the amendment of the Jan Lokpal Bill. The way India got united was never seen after our Independence.
Looking at this unity and fight shown by people of India, I can now truly understand the meaning of Ganesh Chaturthi, more so because it happened just before the festival. I personally believe that the people of India welcomed the elephant God with their unity and fight for the country. The 10-day festival couldn’t have fallen at a better time! (Article continued after picture.)
It was also Avdhoot Gupte’s Marathi movie Morya that helped me understand Ganesh Chaturthi better as it also highlights Tilak’s main motive behind the festival. It mainly shows that in the fight between rival Ganeshotsav mandals, God is always thrown on the losing side.
The film also rightly criticizes violence, hooliganism, vulgarity and drinking culture in the name of Ganeshotsav. Hope it becomes an eye-opener because such malpractices are seen everywhere during this festival. (I have explained this further in my earlier post over here.)
As we welcome Lord Ganesha in 2011, we can pray to him to keep the patriotic flame alive in the hearts of the people and also put the malpractices away. Ganpati Bappa Morya!
A ruthless bunch of people playing drums at an insanely high level, their fellows bursting noisy crackers one after the other while spoiling the air as well as littering the roads, drunkards eve teasing the ladies. All this while the traffic is simply unmovable because of these ghastly acts. Hence, the common man is forced to stay indoors. Those suffering from illness and the students trying hard to study hard are helplessly forced to keep quiet about the terrible situation.
After reading the above description one might wonder if this is a scene from a party thrown by an underworld don for his gang. No; this is how Mumbai welcomes and bids farewell to arguably its most loved God – Lord Ganesha. Can there be a more insulting way to welcome, respect and bid adieu to the most adored almighty? The origin of the celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi dates back to the pre-independence era when the great leader Lokmanya Tilak advised everyone to celebrate this festival in order to show unity against the British.
I bet today’s mischievous monsters don’t have an iota of idea about this. Or else why would they play sleazy item numbers in Ganesh Pandals? My friend Jigisha Doshi had to shut her windows this year since the Pandal near her house was 'continuously' playing Munni Badnaam throughout the day. And they call it a religious festival!
There are a number of pro-Hindu (mainly communal) groups like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), Bajarang Dal (BD), Ram Sene, Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), who self proclaim themselves as the saviors of the Hindu religion and are always up in arms whenever they believe someone is hurting Hindu sentiments. Sadly and annoyingly, not a single person from any of these groups has ever raised a voice or protested against such acts; forget trying to make a difference. And needless to say, the problems with Ganesh Visarjan are much larger than mentioned above.
The fact that these groups are turning a blind eye on the situation, invariably rubbishes the logic behind their formation and existence. It seems they become active or their only purpose is to rubbish, criticize or ridicule ‘other’ religions or people from ‘other’ religions. If my accusation isn’t true, why are they ignoring such insulting acts against one of the most celebrated Hindu Gods?
We always pray to God to get ourselves out of a mess. Now, we need to pray to Him to save nobody but Himself from this mess. Bappa Morya!