I watch it every year. People buy the idol of Lord Ganesha, keep it at home and do its pooja for 10 days. Then on 11th day, they do its visarjan in the sea, river or lake. I don’t know the reason behind it. I don’t know the ritual completely. I don’t know why it is performed? So I don’t perform it. I am damn sure more than 50% of the people who do Ganesh Sthapna on Ganesh Chaturthi don’t know the reason behind it. People perform this ritual for various reasons like to show off their devotion, to dance and eat, blind belief, to get something etc. Very few people know why this ritual is performed. They perform it with true devotion and celebrate this festival aesthetically. Rest are busy adding glamour to it.
“Hey, you know we did the sthapna of ganu yesterday. He is so cute yaar.”
“Really? I want to see it.”
“OK. Come to my home at 8:30. We will do the ganu pooja together.”
Riddhi and Siddhi were talking in the restaurant. Fine, God is our friend but Ganu is bit too much. Next day Siddhi went to do ganu pooja at Riddhi’s home with her mother.
“Sita, you did ganpati sthapna this year again?”
“Yes Gita. I did the ganpati sthapna this year again.”
“Why? If I am not wrong then you stopped performing this ritual couple of years back.”
“Yeah, I stopped it but people at mukti temple told me that you should perform it for five years and I stopped performing it after three years. So I thought I should perform it for two more years. Thus I did ganpati sthapna this year again.”
Sita and Gita mothers of Riddhi and Siddhi respectively were conversing after the ganpati pooja. The actual reason behind ganu sthapna was a blind belief, not a devotion.
“Your ganu is really cute. My mom also liked it.”
“Yeah but tomorrow ganu will leave us. It will be an emotional day for me.”
“I can understand. Goodbyes are always difficult.”
“Hey why don’t you join us tomorrow and this time bring your whole family with you.”
This was the conversation between Riddhi and Siddhi on the day before ganpati visarjan. On ganpati visarjan, Siddhi arrived at Riddhi’s house with her whole family.
“Oh! Ramesh, welcome.”
“Suresh, I must say that your Ganpati looks good specially the mukut.”
“I wanted to make it of gold but maker was asking for more time so I said that keep it this way only. It is 4 feet tall & I got it for 15K.”
“It is good. Last year, we did the sthapna of 6 feet tall Ganpati in our society. We bought cricket playing Ganpati for 20K. On the day of visarjan, all the society members dressed up as cheerleaders. We immersed Ganpati Bappa in the water after cheering him all the way.”
Even Lord Ganesha would not have imagined this type of visarjan. Next day, Ram and Shyam brothers of Riddhi and Siddhi were describing Ganpati visarjan to their classmates.
“Dude, you know we had a blast at Ganpati visarjan yesterday. DJ was playing coldplay, pitbull & pink floyd songs. We were dancing madly on roads without worrying about vehicles passing by. We were throwing crackers on roads.”
“One auto rickshaw almost blew up because of those crackers. It was just so much fun. DJ gave us the feel of sunburn.”
This is how people celebrate the Ganpati festival. Do Lord Ganesha instructed people to celebrate his festival like this? I don’t think so. People not only affect the society but they pollute the whole environment. They pollute the air & water. They disturb the habitat of animals and birds with the noise and colour of their murtis and gulal. They show their dance moves at the place where they have to show their driving sense. This is increasing every year. How can you treat a lord like this? You bring him at home every year, offer prayers to him for ten days and then on the eleventh day, you throw him in the water. What kind of festival is this? I am using the word ‘throw’ because those murtis are found in the dirt after visarjan. They don’t go in heaven, they come out of water broken or in worst shape possible but people don’t care about it. People care about their enjoyment. God has also become an element of enjoyment for people.
I got a forward on Whatsapp that a bakery has made a chocolate Ganpati. The owner of that bakery will immerse it in the milk and he will serve that chocolate milk to poor kids. I don’t know whether it is true or not but this should be the ideal way to celebrate the Ganpati festival. Some people buy (or even make) the eco friendly Ganpati, they do visarjan at home and plant a tree from that clay or soil. It is very difficult to make this thing understand to all the people of this country because they follow Sadhus and Babas blindly and only care about their celebration and enjoyment. Sadhus and Babas bind them with blind beliefs and their craving for celebration and enjoyment kills their humanity. I don’t know when this country will rise above these things. Till then, all I can say is Ganpati Bappa more ya!