Thursday, September 20, 2007

Ganesh Chaturthi ... the sad end!

I've always heard or seen people talking in excitement about Ganesh Chaturthi and what all they do to celebrate it. However I never felt any special feelings arising inside me for this festival. Not that I'm an atheist. I very much believe in God despite the fact I don't pray everyday.

And to be truthful, its not about feeling anything special but about the fact that I somehow feel aversion for two festivals one of them being Ganesh Chaturthi and the the other Durga Puja. The aversion is not towards the prayers or the celebrations. Its the end which bothers me. Makes me feel sad not for Ganeshji or for Durgaji but for the people who do not see how they are totally disrespecting them in the end. And it seems like a total sham to me.

I know there are tons of people who will scorn at me for writing such words but this is the truth..the truth about how I feel.

And why do I feel so? Look at these pictures and they will say it all without any further explanation required from me.

Do you feel happy to see such treatment meted out to the God who was being celebrated few hours ago? I certainly don't.

Do you think our Gods deserve this kind of treatment towards the end after days of celebrating them? Definitely not!

Do you think Ganeshji would be happy to see himself lying amidst the filth on the beach? Never!!

So why are we doing this? What for? Few days we keep them on the pedestal and then they end up lying on the beach with broken arms, covered in filth being trampled upon by the cleaning machines. And this is the time when it makes me feel its all a sham!

And its not just about Ganesh Chaturthi. I feel the same for Durga Puja and the visarjan at the end of it too.

This is the same reason why I refuse to take wall or pocket calendars with any of the Gods pictures on it because I get concerned that once the year is over, how do I dispose the calendar off? I just do not like throwing it in the dustbin. For Gods sake it has the picture of the god whom we respect and look up to.

I can go on and on about it but I guess I've got my point conveyed. And when I read Rarely There, I was glad I'm not alone in how I feel.

I always wonder, why do we need to do the visarjan? Why can't we keep the god with us, in our homes after the celebrations? Do we need to follow a ritual which was made eons ago? But I also know for the fact that earlier there were not such small small groups celebrating separately. Maybe its become more of a status symbol to be sponsoring such celebrations! Why can't the whole city unite and celebrate together?

I hope soon the people realise what they are doing and how its ending. I really hope so..


  1. Have never yet participated in a visarjan, and I do not know the symbolism behind it or indeed if there is any..
    But yeah, I totally get your point that it seems somehow so sad to see a Ganpati that was adored till a few hours ago, lying totally spoilt and besmirched on the ground.
    Just yesterday after reading Kiran's post, I was asking a Teluguite in my flat whether she did it... and she was saying that she celebrated Ganpati alright, but with an existing idol of Ganpati, which was lovingly placed back after doing whatever pujas for Him.
    In Kerala, we do not have any visarjan's done, I think, which end in the idol being deserted. For temple festivals, we have the small idol of the deity taken out on the last day and immersed in the sea/temple pond, after which it is taken back and esconced inside the sanctum sanctorum, safely and sacredly.

    I look forward to reading the others' take on your observation. Maybe there is some meaning behind this ritual..?

  2. I totally agree with you. And yes thats what i wonder abt the calenders at year end ..sad :(

  3. NM,
    After looking at those pics, I feel the same way.

    I like JLT's suggestion.

    After the pooja, the idol should be brought back and reused and not discarded (visarjan!)

  4. I don't agree with you at all as far as the festival is concerned. It is an old tradition and i as such consider it really good.
    But at the same time I get your point totally. And my immidiate thought weass: Plaster of Paris, that is the culprit.
    Earlier they did not make the idols with Plaster but with simple earth.
    I didn't have the time to read the following article in wickipedia completely, but it might inform you more about the environmental impacts:

    Rishab is getting angry as I have to read him a book. :)

  5. I've seen at my friends place, they used to keep a small ganesha of copper and then do visarjan in a big drum in their balcony. The same idol would be used year-on-year for the celebrations.

  6. I agree with you. Plus this is an environmental hazzard. So I a better idea would be to use an idol from home and place it back after the celebration.
    BTW you are tagged!

  7. PG : But earlier so many groups weren't there celebrating it separately. So more the groups, more the mess.

    And also, why do we need to follow traditions blindly. I'm sure there were reasons behind that time but they should be modified looking at today's population and circumstances.

  8. I agree with you the way they discard the idols. I love the Ganesha festival because it means lots of family gatherings,great food and a good time. I think that's how festivals are meant to be. Nowadays though it had taken a commercial turn with every street having its own huge idol and ultimately when they end up like the ones in the pics you posted it breaks my heart. I for one don't believe that keeping the idol and discarding it is the only way to celebrate it.I have an old metal idol and we juse do the ritual of visarjan and reuse it back.

  9. You are right, but if they hasd followed the tradition of using mud instead of the "modern" plaster of paris things would not have been so bad. I think there is nothing wrong in the tradition. The thought behind it is very nice. Do try to understand it as well. I could almost say, this makes us so unique in the world.
    Our problem is that we change our traditons without seeing the consequences. Maybe if we were to follow these festivals strictly the way they were done earlier, who knows such things wouldn't happen.
    What do you say?

  10. The immersion ceremony symbolises the form (physical existence) returning to the Formless (spiritual existence). Its purpose is to teach that all forms of God, including human beings, have both their beginning and end in the one Formless Absolute. In this light, the worship of God’s form actually serves as a bridge, helping us to reach that state of Infinite Awareness. Just as Ganesha today merged with Mother Ocean, so too is our consciousness destined to merge into the Ocean of Supreme Consciousness.
    Source- Amrita Puri's blog

  11. I liked the explanation anon gave and nm, I am glad you brought this to light. It offended me to see these idols lying scattered and worse bulldozed.
    as you said, just sticking to mud, and keeping one or two united celebrations should be the norm.
    the attitude these days seems to be size of idol is directly proportional to size of your ego/size of your wallet.

  12. I also feel very disappointed and very much sad.I could not gather courage to participate in Ganpatiji or Durga ji Visarjan so far and I think for ever.
    I am not aware about this concept or tradition of visarjan but I truly feel that the God we worship and love should not be treated like this only on the name of tradition and rituals.Instead we should continue to worship same idol over the years as long as we can.I think it will pay more devotion and will also be safe for the environment too.