Mumbai: Maharashtra’s illustrious son has overshadowed the state`s favourite festival, the Ganesh Utsav. Gandhian Anna Hazare, who came from a nondescript village in Ahmednagar district and captured the imagination of the country, has emerged as one of the favourite themes this year.
Anna Hazare`s 13-day fast against corruption had united the nation; hence it’s no wonder that Anna finds a proud place on the podium with the Lord himself. He was discharged from hospital yesterday and has reached his village Ralegaon Siddhi to a hero’s welcome.
In one Mumbai pandal, the God of Wisdom is shown expressing his solidarity with Anna and the masses by wearing a white Gandhi cap.
At the feet of Ganesh is a rat, signifying the common man, and sports a white dhoti and vest with a white cap. Another rat is depicted wearing an orange dhoti, signifying spiritual support across religions.
And it’s not just that, a copy of the Jan Lokpal Bill is `presented` before Lord Ganesh idol and the rats are shown praying to Lord Ganesh for his divine intervention to rid the country of corruption.
The 10-day long festival began on Thursday with prayers being held at homes and thousands thronging various pandals all across the city and elsewhere in the state.
Today morning the `pran pratishthapana` puja was performed at the auspicious `muhurat` as per the Hindu `panchang`. The idol can be kept at home for a half-a-day, five days or the entire 10 days of the festival.
In Mumbai, the biggest attraction, as always, is the Lalbagh Ganesh, fondly called Lalbaghcha Raja. Hordes of devotees have started to converge for a darshan amid tight security. Elsewhere in the city too, Ganesh pandals with huge statues of the God revered as vignaharta (obstacle remover).
The 10-day Ganesh festival has also begun with traditional pomp and gaiety in other cities of the state like Pune, Nashik, Sangli, Kolhapur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad and Nagpur.
Over the years, the festival has grown out of Maharashtra and is celebrated with fervour in many other parts of the country as well.
Known as Vinayaga Chaturthi in Tamil Nadu, the festival is being celebrated on a large scale in the southern state.
The festival is also being celebrated with reverence in other parts of the country as well, including in Bangalore, Hyderabad, Udaipur and Delhi.
The festival ends with devotees immersing the idols in the sea or water bodies.