The Bold Voice of J&K

Vividness of India & Ganesh Chaturthi

70

ABHISHEK JANDIAL

India is the land of diversity. No other country in the world has as many geographical seasons as India. Cherrapunji, the place which receives maximum rainfall in the world is in our country. Thar desert is also in India. Oldest mountain of the world, Aravallis is in India. Himalayas, the highest mountain range of world is in India. No country in the world has as many languages as we spoke in India. Indeed, 8th schedule of our Constitution recognizes 22 languages now. But it is hard to believe that about 19,500 languages are spoken in India among which Sanskrit is the oldest one. Tamil is also an ancient language which is also being spoken presently. Malayalam is fastest growing language in India. India is the place of origin of oldest religion in the world – Hinduism. Gautam Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal as Siddhartha. But it is our country where he attained enlightenment or simply Niravana. Oldest city of world, Varanasi is also in India. My point is clear now. No country boasts as rich culture as India has. Great culture gives birth to Great Festivals. India is undoubtedly the land of countless festivals. We have Diwali, Holi, Pongal, Onam, Baisakhi, Navratre, Navroj. Festivals vary with the demography, seasons, religion. Many of the festivals are harvest festivals. We have numberless dances. In Tamil Nadu, we have Bharatnatyam. In Kerala, we have Mohiniattam, Kathakali. In Uttar Pradesh, we have Kathak. In Punjab, we have Bhangra. In Gujarat, we have Dandiya. In Rajasthan, we have Gumar. This list is never ending. I am only giving you an idea about the richness of the culture of India. Let’s come to festivals. Though we have numberless festivals. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of them. We all know that Bhagwan Shiv lives in Kailash Parvat with Goddess Parvati and his son Bhagwan Ganesh. Ganesha is the one who narrated Four Vedas to Rishi Ved Vyas, who compiled it later. On the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi, an idol of Bhagwan Ganesh is installed in our homes. It is an 11-day festival that commences on Chaturthi of Shukla Paksha in the month of Bhadrapada and ends on Anant Chaturdashi according to Hindu lunar calendar. It usually falls in the month of August or September. It is believed that Lord Ganesha comes from Kailash mountain on pious Ganesh Chaturthi. Devotees worship the God in their homes and after 10 days, these idols are immersed in water-bodies. On all these 10 days, all family members collectively worship together Lord Ganesha in the festive color with pomp and joy. God Ganesha is offered Modak during these prayers. The celebration of Ganesha chaturthi lasts for 11 days and festival ends on Anant Chaturdashi with Ganesh Visarjan. Ganesh Chaturthi is one of the famous festivals of Hindus and is also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi. The festival celebrates the birthday of Lord Ganesha – the supreme God of wisdom and prosperity. Ganesha is the ‘Lord of Beginnings’; that’s why every Hindu prayer worship starts with a dedication to Ganesha.In India, it is majorly celebrated in states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana. Ganesha is the younger son of Lord Shiva and Parvati. There are various stories behind his birth but two of them are the most common ones. According to the first story, Lord Ganesha was created by Parvati out of dirt from her body to guard her in the absence of Shiva. She gave him the task of guarding her bathroom door while she took a bath. In the meantime, Shiva returned home and Ganesha, who didn’t know who Shiva was, stopped him. This angered Shiva and he severed Ganesha’s head after a tiff between the two. Parvati was enraged when she came to know about this; Lord Shiva, in turn, promised to get Ganesha back to life. The devas were sent to search for a child’s head facing north but they could only find an elephant’s head. Shiva fixed the elephant’s head on the child’s body, and that how Ganesha was born. Ganesh chaturthi is being celebrated since the time immortal. But it was the Marathas who first of all started celebrating it publicly. Attention Please, it was Lokmaanya Bal Gangadar Tilak, who is credited the most to celebrate this festival in its present form publicly, to develop the sense of oneness and unity among Indians, so that they unite against the imperial British. Although Ganesha Chaturthi is pan-India festival, more centred in Maharashtra, but thousands of devotees throng near the water body with the idol of Ganesha to immerse in water, praying for the prosperity of their family. The festival begins at sunrise with a religious offering for the upcoming year. A tray of flowers, especially the yellow blooms of the golden shower tree, along with fruits and vegetables, rice, coins, and gifts, is placed beside a lamp in the family puja room or in Hindu temples. Seeing this offering-called the Vishukkani (first sight on Vishu)-first thing upon waking is thought to bring an abundance of its contents over the coming year. As such, children are often led to the Vishukkani with their eyes covered. The contents of the Vishukkani are afterwards gifted or donated. The coins (called Kaineettam) are typically distributed to the children by an older family member. Traditionally Ganesha statue is made of clay, hence biodegradable which when immersed in water does no harm to the environment. But these days, devotees prefer modern statues made of Plaster of Paris and other harmful and non biodegradable material. Plastic is also being used in the making of statues. The average life of a human is 60 years but the average life of plastic is more than 500 years. These idols when immersed in water also effect aquatic flora and fauna. Through the process of Bio-magnification and Bioaccumulation, these components enter in aquatic food chains and food webs, thus becomes lethal to the aquatic life. With great culture, comes great responsibility. It is our responsibility of we Indians to respect, honour, propagate, glorify our festivals and culture. All we need is to protect it, preserve it and felt proud on our culture, heritage, Tradition, History and what not. Last but not the least, I wish you all a happy and prosperous Ganesha Chaturthi.

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