Mumbai: Ignoring terror threats, Mumbaikars Saturday got into a festive mood with simultaneous celebrations of Ganeshotsav, Eid and Jain Samvasari.
Over 50,000 devotees thronged the famous Lalbaugcha Raja Ganeshotsav in Parel, south-central Mumbai, for the inaugural ‘darshan’ in the morning, while nearly a lakh Muslims offered the Eid ‘namaaz’ in different venues, including the wellknown Minara Masjid.
Later, members of the Muslim community were seen embracing one another and greeting ‘Eid Mubarak’ even as attendants served delicious ‘sheer korma’, the traditional Eid sweet preparation, to the faithful.
Political leaders, celebrities and commoners joined the festivities with joy and enthusiasm and prayed for the community and the country.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and his family performed ‘aarti’ of a small idol of Lord Ganesh installed at his official residence Varsha. Several of his cabinet colleagues, legislators and others participated in tne function.
In Nagpur, Bharatiya Janata Party president Nitin Gadkari took time off from politics and party affairs to celebrate Ganeshotsav and performed the morning ‘aarti’ with his family members.
"I prayed to Lord Ganesha to free the country from fear, hunger and terror and bring prosperity to all countrymen," Gadkari told reporters.
Shiv Sena senior leader and former Lok Sabha Speaker Manohar Joshi also performed ‘aarti’ at his residence at Dadar, Mumbai, and said he prayed to Lord Ganesha to "give wisdom to the government to adhere to its duties and responsibilities".
Celebrities like Salman Khan, Nana Patekar, Mohan Joshi and many others also installed Lord Ganesha idols at their homes where members of the film industry and commoners thronged.
Eid was celebrated with equal zeal in Muslim dominated pockets of Mumbai like Byculla, Mazgaon, Colaba, Bandra, Jogeshwari, Andheri, Mira Road, Bhiwandi (Thane district), Malegaon and Nashik (Nashik district), Aurangabad, Kolhapur, Solapur and other parts of the state.
Many of the 200-odd mosques in Mumbai were illuminated overnight after the Eid moon was sighted, signaling an end to the month of fasting, self-purification and prayers.
In a special message on the occasion of Eid, the spiritual head of Dawoodi Bohras, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin prayed for peace and harmony in India.
"May our countrymen prosper and progress at all times. May the Almighty shower his mercy and benevelonce upon us all," the Syedna said in his message.
Along with Ganeshotsav and Eid, members of the Shwetamber Jain community -- comprising top businessmen, diamond industry players and financial wizards -- celebrated Samvasari, marking the end of the eight-day period of fasting and prayers known as ‘paryushan.’
Members of the community greeted one another ‘Michhami Dukdam’ and begged for each other’s forgiveness on the auspicious occasion.
"This festival teaches us compassion and to imbibe the spirit of forgiveness. We beg for each other’s forgiveness for any ill-will or wrongdoings over the last year and forgive each other," explained prominent Jain writer and journalist Manilal Gala.
The intermittent rains lashing large parts of the western megapolis and suburbs failed to dampen the festive spirit and millions of Mumbaikars were out on the roads since early morning to celebrate the three mega-festivals.
In view of the three big festivals, Mumbai Police deployed unprecedented security with over 86,000 personnel, besides other paramilitary forces, bomb disposal squads, and dog squads at strategic locations.
The police and the government are not taking chances, especially after the revelations that two suspected terrorists - both foreign nationals - have sneaked into Mumbai with intentions to strike during the ongoing festival season.