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!