RELIGION AND FAITH
People of different religion and faith live in Mumbai. And so there are different festivals that are celebrated. And every festival is of paramount importance. Every festival brings happiness and people await for festivals. It is a time when people forget all their misunderstandings and problems and greet each other to start a new beginning. Among those, one festival is the Ganeshotsav festival. It is a festival of the Hindus. But in Maharashtra not only Hindus, but people from other religions participate in the celebration like Muslims, Jains, Christian and others.
I remember those days when my grandmother used to take me along with her to see the colourful statues of lord Ganesha and how we used to join are neighbours and friends to help them celebrate their festival. The festival was celebrated with great respect and the devotees believed that all their prayers and petitions would be answered.
The devotees strongly believed that lord Ganesha who is also called Vinayagar is the son of Shiva and Parvati. This festival was celebrated with the believe that Ganesha bestows his presence on earth. They believe that he is a the god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. The Ganesha models were made of Plaster of Paris two to three months before the festival. The size of the statue varied from household to household. The statues were colourfully decorated by the devotees themselves.
People had pandals outside their houses. They decorated their pandals and placed the staue of Ganesha there. The pandals were specially decorated during the festival by using garlands, lights etc. with the theme that depicted religious themes. Devotees worshiped lord Ganesha for 10 days. And on the 11th day the statue was taken in a procession by the devotees singing, dancing and chanting to immerse it in the sea or river. The devotees believe that lord Ganesha in his journey takes away with him their misfortunes. Some devotees immersed him on the third , fifth or the seventh day as per their family tradition. The devotees with a lot of faith joined the final procession shouting “Ganapati Bappa Morya, Pudhachya Varshi Laukar ya and “Ganesh Maha Raj ki, Jai”. They also prepared sweets for the festivals called modak and distributed among their friends and relatives.
Unfortunately, things are not the same as I used to see before. Last year during the Ganesha festival, the society opposite my house had brought the staute of lord Ganesha. On the final day when they had to take the idol for immersion, the boys and girls in the procession were playing songs like Munni Badnam Hui, Jalebi Bai, Sheila Ki Jawani and all other item songs. I was very surprised and upset. On hearing this, I recalled those days when I used to go along with my grandmother. And I said to myself, “ things have changed!”.
I believe that it is highly disrespectful. This tells us that the celebration of festivals has been changed over time. People are celebrating festivals from the point of enjoyment rather than the spiritual point of view. We must enjoy our festivals but we should not forget the real meaning of it. We should realise that festivals are not only meant for enjoyment but they also have some religious sentiments attached to them.