Sep 10, 2014

Why Ganesha doesn’t want to be back

If you scan through the calendar, it looks like we Indians have created festivals to take occasional breaks and holidays. We have some or the other festival coming up every month round the year and each of them has grand celebrations attached to it. The most recent is Ganesh Chaturthi, where beautifully decorated artistic idols of Lord Ganesha are bought from artisans, carried all the way in a decorated vehicle which blasts the latest item numbers at high decibel levels with the devotees dancing hysterically in the procession and then installed either in homes or pandals in the locality for a varying period of 1.5, 5, 7 or 10 days after which the idols are again carried in the decorated vehicles with a lot of music & dance and finally immersed in the waterbodies.

Over the last few years, celebrations have become lavish and pompous. Idols have become larger, music and lights have become more advanced and the funding of pandals has risen, thanks to the politicization of festivals. When we already have so many Ganesha temples to worship, why is there a need to install his idol on each and every corner of the locality? Who gives us the right to decide that Ganesha loves item songs, remixes and Honey Singh numbers? Do we create bigger idols every year because we believe the bigger the idol, the more the blessings?

As a God who has the image of being a boss, this doesn’t just go well with Ganesha’s standards. It’s just not his style.  Isn’t it sad that a God who has such an excellent reputation of removing hurdles begins and ends his journey into the festival with huge traffic jams? Do we keep on blaring loud music at the pandals and blasting crackers in the processions just because he has got the biggest ears? Ironically people abstain from eating non-vegetarian food and consuming liquor during this festival but rarely care about the fishes that die due to pollution in the sea and the drunk dancing during Visarjan processions while the sound system plays Chaar Botal Vodka. We bid goodbye to the God whole-heartedly and wish for his come-back next year forgetting that the idols would still not degrade for the years to come.

Anyone who has visited Lalbaug cha Raja in Mumbai would be well aware about the mad rush of devotees over there during the Ganesh festival. Why would God reside at a place where people have a constant fear of stampedes, manhandling and pickpocketing? No blasphemy here, but how can you focus on praying to the God when your only priority is to get out of the rush as soon as possible?

Finally, if you visit the beaches after the day of Visarjan, you would see a lot of beheaded and mutilated Ganesha idols scattered across the shore. If that is a pleasant sight for you, go ahead and bring in the God next year.

P.S. Modaks are super delicious.


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