Ganesh Festival At Keshavji Naik Chawls (contd...)
A community festival cannot remain merely religious or intellectual in nature
particularly when masses are involved. Some lighter moments by means of
cultural and entertainment programs are a must when the festival spans over
full ten days The SGS has given due attention to this aspect and a wide
variety of such programs have been arranged for the benefit of the members,
their families and others. The means and ideas of entertainment vary from
time to time. Over the century, such programs have been organized by inviting
eminent artists and professional groups for giving live performances. Melas,
Dramas, Classical and Light Music concerts, Orchestra Performances have
been some prominent types of such programs. On many occasions, members of
the SGS and residents have also shown initiative in pooling up their resources
and talents in organizing some in-house programs such as dramas. To promote
the talents in younger generation, a wide variety of competitions have been
held. They include subjects like Physical Exercise, Elocution, Essay Writing,
Debate, and Games.
With the advent of time, the nature of social problems
also undergoes changes. Social and religious organizations must
be alert to take a note of new problems and endeavor to resolve
them. The members of the SGS have been aware of their social responsibility
and have tried to make conscious efforts for the betterment of the
society. During last few years, some medical camps have been arranged
for providing free medical check-up of the local people. Every year,
Vyakhyanmala, which consists of a series of lectures
on topics of general interest or social relevance, is organized
for the benefit of all during Dec.-Jan. period. Another
project that has been recently undertaken aims towards
compilation of available old records towards Ganesh Festivals.
It is worth mentioning that the center of attraction
of the annual festival has always been the idol of Lord Ganesha.
The Moorti i.e. the idol of Ganesha for every annual festival is
skillfully crafted in clay by a local sculptor-one Mr. More. The
shape and posture of the idol is the same every year and the present
sculptor belongs to the fifth generation of the family that has
been entrusted this job. The idol is serenely beautiful and it brought
to the festival site on the day of Ganesh Chaturthi in a solemn
and traditional manner with the help of a Palkhi (i.e. a palanquin).
The festival is carried out in a temporary pandal erected specially
for the purpose on the road with the permission of Municipal Corporation.
The tenth day i.e. the Ananta Chaturdashi marks the end of the festival
and on this day the idol is carried in a procession in traditional
manner for immersion in the sea. A huge crowd gathers to bid farewell
to their beloved deity. Finally the idol is immersed in the sea
with the chorus "Ganapati Bappa Moraya,Pudhachya Varshi Lavakar
Ya". (meaning:' Tribute to you, Lord Ganesha! Please come back early
the next year!') This final day is full of mixed and melancholy
feelings and it invariably makes one introspect and also look forward
for the next year's festival.
The captive beauty of the idol of Lord Ganesha
at the SGS is beyond verbal description. It is an experience that
one must personally enjoy! The influence of the festival at SGS
is so powerful that many of the old residents of KNC, in spite of
their staying at far off places, make it a point to visit the festival
at least once and enjoy the cherished moments of their life.