“Ganpati Bapppa Morya”. The air is filled with the chants of “Ganpati Bappa Morya” with lots of enthusiasm welcoming their favorite god Ganesha. Today is the auspicious day of “Ganesh Chaturthi”. Ganesha fondly known as “Ganpati” was the son of Mata Parvati and Lord Shiva, the Mahadev. He was born out of the saffron and sandal paste applied by Parvati on her body while getting ready for bath. The rest of the story is well known and has been a folklore since centuries. Lord Ganesha is the God of Buddhi (Intelligence) also known as Riddhi and Siddhi (Spiritual Power). In India every new work or auspicious activity is started after praying Ganesha. It is said that doing Puja of Ganesha, the task will be successfully accomplished. Ganesha has 108 names with each name having a distinct meaning.
Every year, during Ganesh Chaturthi, people bring Ganesha’s idol at homes and perform puja. Some people worship their favorite God for one and a half days while some worship for 5, 7 or 10 days. In India, especially in Maharashtra, Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav is celebrated in every nook and corner. The Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav was started by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak with the aim of uniting the people of India to fight against the British. The most famous Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandals are Lalbaugcha Raja, Andhericha Raja, Dagdu Sheth Halwai, Keshavji Naik Chawl, GSB Seva Mandal etc. People often visit these Mandals to offer their gratitude to their Beloved God. The Ganeshotsav is celebrated for 10 days after which the idols are immersed in water. The idol immersion is known as Ganesh Visarjan and it is done on the auspicious day of Vinayak Chaturdashi.
Sadly, the Ganeshotsav is losing its sheen since past few years. The reason why it was originally started has been long forgotten. Today, it has become a kind of business for various mandals. People running these mandals forcefully extort money from shopkeepers, roadside vendors, residents etc. Most of the money accumulated in the name of Ganeshotsav is not accounted. There have been cries and pleas for creating eco-friendly idols which fall only in deaf ears. Most of the idols are made of Plaster of Paris which does not get immersed completely in water and creates serious environmental problems. However, people running businesses in the name of religion don’t care for the environment. For them money is the only motto. Also, some mandals play loud music all the time which creates noise pollution. Playing music in low decibel is ok, but playing in high decibels create issues like Deafness. I have even seen some Mandals playing vulgar filmy songs which itself is an insult to the Lord. During Visarjan, we also see some people kicking the idols which float on the water. It is surprising that the same people who worship the Lord for 10 days openly insult him during the Visarjan.
It is high time a social awareness is created against these malpractices and the Mandals have to come forward to celebrate the festival in a manner which will bring only happiness. After all Lord Ganesha does not want his devotees to suffer due to their own carelessness.
So once again let us celebrate the festival with Pomp and shout “Ganpati Bappa Morya”.