Note: Commentry is in Marathi.
Description: Malpractices during Ganesh immersion procession, Experience of common public about procession.
Note: Commentry is in Marathi.
Description: Why Ganesh festival is celebrated publicly? Other topics - Malpractices during Ganesh Festival like money demanded with force for Ganesh festival. Saints guidance on present state of festival.
Note: Commentry is in Marathi.
Description: Malpractices during Ganesh Festival like pollution of sound during Ganesh festival, strange and fearful demonstrations, record dance, Action taken by police against malpractices, Saints guidance about the programs during Ganesh festival.
Present day Ganesha celebrations are devoid of devotion. In a survey conducted in 1999, it was found that there were more than 3500 Ganesha festival committees registered in Mumbai alone! What would be their number all over Maharashtra?
The festival committees spend huge sums for erecting the pandal, the idol, lighting, decoration, scenery, entertainment programs and processions. Right from a volunteer of the festival committee to the police of the entire state and even coast guards along the seashore are on their toes during these celebrations. Unfortunately, the spiritual benefit derived by the society from this festival is comparatively negligible.
Forcible collection of funds
Demanding and pressurising donors to donate is tantamount to organized extortion. People with illegal money, manufacturers of liquor or gutkha (tobacco) try to earn merits (punya) and reputation by offering huge donations. Cigarette and gutkha manufacturers advertise their products during the festival. A festival celebrated with such ill-earned wealth will never appease Lord Ganesha.
Incidents of citizens being cheated through these, are on the rise. One such Ganesha festival committee sold lotteries worth Rs. 125 each. However, nobody got a prize.. Photos of Lord Ganesha printed on lottery tickets are thrown and trampled upon after the results, causing denigration of the deity. To attract devotees, signboards such as, 'Right here, Lord Ganapati fulfills wishes', are put up. The faithful and naive, simple devotees are made to pay money in return for a receipt to queue up to see the idol! Some Ganesha festival committees organize two queues for paying obeisance to Lord Ganesha. One queue is for those who wish and can afford to buy a ticket and avoid the routine queue to get faster ‘darshan’ of the deity. This amounts to corruption in the name of the deity.
In an advertisement of 'Zandu balm', Lord Ganapati uses the balm for a backache that developed on account of sitting continuously for 10 days during the Ganesha festival.
Base, tasteless programs
Nowadays orchestras, film dance programs, etc. not in keeping with the Indian culture are widely organized during the Ganesha festival. Lewd songs are played loudly.
Over expense on lighting
Electrical lighting is not restricted merely to the idol and pandal but covers long distances. Nowadays musical lighting, which has become popular, causes noise pollution too. Lighting done on such a large scale is a great loss of national wealth.
Blaring music is played throughout the day and night as festival committees compete with one another.
Volunteers of the festival committee are seen celebrating merely for publicity. Attention of these volunteers is focused on undue prestige rather than on the sanctity of the festival, devotion (bhakti) and spiritual emotion (bhâv). Eg. A resident of Pune had a four year old daughter who was terminally ill. All treatment proved to be in vain. Blaring music played continuously on eight loudspeakers during the festival. The helpless bed-ridden child would constantly hold her head and groan in pain. Her father requested the volunteers of the Ganesha festival committee to lower the volume of the loudspeakers. They said, "What can we do if your daughter is ill? You can shift your residence. Should others stop celebrating the festival for the sake of your daughter?" They also passed casteist remarks. The very next day, the child expired.
Slow immersion processions
According to a survey in 1998, the Ganesha immersion procession in Pune lasted 28 hours and 25 minutes. 1560 Ganesha festival committees had participated in it
Throwing coloured powder: Dr. PP Lahâne, Head of the Department of Ophthalmology at JJ Hospital says if the powder enters the eyes it may cause redness of the eyes and lead to hemorrhage, corneal ulcer causing opacity and subsequent decrease in vision.
Nowadays under the influence of alcohol, crude dance competition to the tune of film songs, youth making vulgar gestures and eve-teasing form a path of celebration.
One year, a political dispute arose between activists of two political parties on the road itself during the immersion procession of Ganesh idols. The dispute which initially started with verbal abuses and minor arguments later took a serious turn. Workers of one political party pelted the other party with stones and soda water bottles. This was a clever plan of generating fear in the voters of their constituency by a cheap display of their power.
A large security force has to be posted on the day of immersion to prevent occurrence of any untoward incident.
Police & crowds
One may say that the crowds gathering on the seashores of Mumbaî for the immersion of Ganesh idols are the largest in Asia. The police have to put in special efforts to control this significantly large crowd much beyond its capability. Children get lost and can be kidnaped in this crowd
Effects of idol immersion
1. Accumulation of residue in the sea and lakes due
to immersion of idols: According to the 'Jidnyasa' report,
6,625 idols were immersed in the Mâsundâ lake in 1998. The
idols contained 20,446.68 kgs. of plaster of Paris and 1,144.12 kgs.
of paint. In 1993, the lake was desilted by incurring expenditure to
the tune of millions of rupees. The depth of the lake then was 18 feet.
In 1998, when the depth was fathomed again, it was found to be only
10 feet. This meant that the depth of the lake reduced by 1.5 feet every
year. If immersion of Ganesh idols were continued every year then by
2005, the above lake would be totally filled with the residue of plaster
1. Instead of making huge idols, restrict their size as per the science
behind the idol.