Friday, 25 September 2015

Do We Celebrate Ganeshotsav Right? A Question We Must Ask Ourselves...

The festival of Ganeshotsav is already going on across the country, filling people with energy and lighting up every road of the city. Being born and brought up in Mumbai, I haven’t seen Ganeshotsav celebrations in other parts of the country much but, I am pretty sure the festival drives entire Mumbai crazy, filling people with zest and enthusiasm. With thousands flooding the roads to seek the blessings of their beloved Ganpati bappa in pandals, this is one festival that I had loved since my childhood.

The festival was primarily started by Tilak to bring people together under the name of celebration and unite India in general. It is indeed commendable that people have nurtured the legacy and continued the festival to date. However, over the years, the nature of the festival and that of celebrations has changed phenomenally. Where it was a time for people to come together, celebrate with love and for peace in the country, the basic essence has been lost these days.

To start with, many news channels and newspapers have been reporting the miserable state of Ganesh idols after the visarjan which is indeed a heart-melting and a pathetic sight. The Lord whom we bring home with so much love and respect is left in a miserable condition after the visarjan, lying on the beaches of Mumbai. Not only is it a disgusting sight but something that pollutes water to such extent that the flora and fauna within them often dies after consuming the Plaster of Paris of which the Ganesh idols are made. The time when the festival was started by Tilak did not have Ganesh pandals on every road of the city. Also, the idols weren’t as large as they are made in today’s world. Currently, however, the festival has no longer remained a festival but has become a competition among pandals as to who gets the maximum devotees and collection.

Okay, let us forget about the aftermath of the festival. But the way Mumbai celebrates it, is it ethical? Since my home falls on the main road from where Ganesh idols are taken for visarjan, it is obvious that there’s a lot of chaos on the visarjan days. With families and pandals dancing to the tunes of bands and DJs, it really becomes irritating for one to stay at home in such a situation. And, although rules have been made that pandals should not play loud music after 10pm, the chaos remains the same till at least 1am. Is this justified? Is that the time to play DJ and dance to music when it is time to sleep for the world? Shouldn’t people consider that others have to get up early and head out to work so it is unethical to disturb their sleep? And, forget about sleep, people don’t even consider that there might be old people or patients at people’s home whose sleep might get disturbed due to the loud noises! We all know old people cannot bear loud noises, don’t we?

While music is not enough for people to celebrate, I had people bursting crackers on the road at 12.15 pm on Wednesday when it was the day of visarjan for the 7-day Ganesh idols. Trust me, it was really disturbing and irritating to fall asleep to this noise when it was already midnight.

Apart from this, one of the most disgusting ways of visarjan that I saw on the same day was that a large Ganesh idol was placed on a bullock cart by a pandal which had set out for visarjan at 12am.  The very sight of it was disturbing; like why do we have to trouble the bullocks at midnight having them to pull a large Ganesh idol on their back? Is this act justified? Can’t people simply hire a truck or a tempo to ply the idols to the visarjan spots? Or simply drag the cart themselves? Of course, the large idols at pandals are extremely heavy; so imagine the plight of the bullocks that were dragging it with people dancing in front of them? Shall we call this humanity? And will the Lord himself like it?

Festivals, in today’s world, have become more of a business and their face has been transformed drastically over the years. While we celebrate to enjoy ourselves, we must not forget the basic ethics or enjoy at the cost of others’ peace and happiness. Agree?