Ganesh Chaturthi: Did you know the celebrations started back in 1600s?

Ganpati Celebration in Mumbai has an interesting history, one you might not be aware of.

Ganesh Chaturthi: Did you know the celebrations started back in 1600s?

If you live in Mumbai, you’re very well acquainted with the fervor around Ganesh Chaturthi in the city. And if you’re not natively from here, you have all the more reasons to go out and experience what Ganeshotsav really feels like! The most celebrated festival in Maharashtra is all about madness, belief and unity. People from across the globe come to experience the uniqueness.

What makes it even more interesting is the history of Ganesh Chaturthi, dating back to the 1600s.

History says that public celebrations for the festival began in Pune, back in Shivaji Maharaj’s time. But soon after the Marathas went out of power, the celebration was taken indoors until the 1800s. It was during this time that Bal Gangadhar Tilak, popularly known as Lokmanya, played a pivotal role in bringing back Ganpati celebrations on the streets.

Catch a glimpse of the celebrations last year at the mandal started by him back then. Ganeshotsav is still celebrated with the same enthusiasm at this pandal.

In the attempt to unite people during the freedom struggle, Tilak encouraged people to come out on the streets together to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi. Hence, unity became the most important factor the festival stands for. Lokmanya understood that India needed to stand as one and whole to fight against the British Raj. Where India stood divided by religion, caste, and beliefs, it was important to bring the people together. This revived the madness around Ganesh Chaturthi.

He told the people to install large Ganesh statues in pavilions, motivating them to lengthen the festival to around 10 days and bring people together for cultural events and intellectual debates. He ever went ahead to ask in his newspaper ‘Kesari’ whether they should convert this massive festival into a mass political rally or not.

This festival became a community building ground for people of all castes and creed to come together and discuss the freedom struggle! Leaders such as MK Gandhi, Sarojini Naidu are said to have participated in debates, engaging with the general public at this festival.

So, what revived as a strategy towards independence, is now continuing as a legacy with the same madness and chaos, amid which you find secularity and unity.

Ganpati Bappa Morya!

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