Ganapati Bappa Moraya - Contents of life

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Ganapati Bappa Moraya

Since tomorrow a big festival is beginning in India. Especially in Maharashtra. Its called Ganesh Utsav.
Beginning tomorrow, people in Maharashtra brings a statue of Lord Ganesh at their homes or even in their society and worship for period of upto 10 days.
The story behind this festival is less of religion and more of social and political reasons.  In 1893, Lokmanya Gangadhar Tilak started this as an event to bring people together and create awareness among people about the ruling British empire. It received a huge support from people and became an important event. Slowly over the time, it spread all over India. After Independence, the social cause of social development got attached to this festival. But over the time, somehow, the component of social cause has been depleting in the festival. Even the component of religious belief has reduced significantly. At the same time, people are using this festival more like an opportunity to earn money and giving an erratic form to the celebrate. Big processions which went on  for over a day, when all the transportation of the city is crippled is very common. People drink and dance on very loud music without bothering that the loud music may bring heart attack to some one.
There is a heavy load over police in these days. Not to forget, this is a very big chance for terrorist attack since there is a big crowd every where.
But all is not bad. There are some groups which are very famous among people for their activities.
For ex. Lord Ganesh statue by Dagdu Sheth Halwai in Pune. This is one of the most famous Ganesh Statue in Maharashtra. People not just from Maharashtra, but from all over India and even abroad Countries visit Pune to worship.
This group is very famous for the kind of decorations and arrangements they make during this 10 days festival. In the immersion procession which takes place on 10th day, this statue is among the last few ones and all the people actually wait for this statue to participate in the procession. Once this statue passes through, the crowd significantly decreases.
One interesting activity by the group is the "Atharvashirsh Pathan". Atharvashirsha  is a most recited Sanskrit text in Maharashtra. Here, Lord is praised in many different fashions by remembering his strength, wisdom and intelligence. The interesting thing to note here is this Atharvashirsha is recited by hundreds of women in front of Lord Ganesh. This has given an opportunity to bring women power together and brings awareness and change in many different ways of looking towards women. All the women of Pune actively participate in this event where there are hundreds or thousands of women reciting Atharvashirsha together. It is an amazing environment to experience.
One of the Lord Ganesh Statue which is equally famous is the Lal Baug Raja statue in Mumbai. This is the most famous statue in Mumbai and is the centre of attraction for all the people in Mumbai. A rough estimate is that in the 10 days of festival, number of visitors for this statue as big 50 million or even bigger than that.
These coming 10 days are a wonderful time to visit Maharashtra. There is some kind of energy every where. All the people are in festival mood and all evenings are an event. It brings people together, and teach them to celebrate together. At times, as is the basic theme of the festival, it crosses the boundaries of  religion and involves every body irrespective of religion or caste. There is a need to route out some erratic behaviours that got associated with the festival. But it will take its course to undo them.
So, if you happen to be in Maharashtra and more specifically in Pune or Mumbai, do make an appointment with Lord Ganesh and get upbeat.


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