By Vijay Darda | 19-09-2016
After ten days’ blissful stay, the Lord of wisdom Ganpati has left for his spiritual abode promising to come back early next year. He is the one who removes all obstacles. But does he remove the obstacles all by himself and fill the world with joy and happiness? He gives us the wisdom to do all this, because he is the real power behind wisdom. He endowed the Mumbai police with wisdom and got them to ensure that the Ganeshotsav in Maharashtra concludes peacefully with all segments of the society participating in the celebrations and ensure no untoward incident takes place during the immersion procession. While not dampening the enthusiasm of the youth, the Maharashtra and Mumbai police strove day and night to ensure that the procession moved ahead towards the immersion points. The entire Mumbai police force deserves to be praised for their hard work, discipline and ensuring the rule of law during the just concluded Ganeshotsav.
Ordinarily, police is always at the receiving end of the common people and the media. Often the criticism is valid. But at least during such junction, Lord Ganesh should give their critics the wisdom to speak the truth and appreciate their commitment. Millions of Ganesh idols are publicly as well as domestically installed in Mumbai, Maharashtra and Goa. In Mumbai alone the figure crosses 2.11 lakh. Even the police install the idols of Lord Ganesh at their homes. But how many policemen get the opportunity to worship their favourite deity? Perhaps, none at all. Because they have to perform the role of obstacle remover and in view of the increasing numbers of Ganpati idols in the recent times, they have to perform the duty to ensure that Ganeshotsav celebrations pass off without any untoward incident.
The task of maintaining the law and order during the Ganeshotsav celebrations is a challenge and full of risk. Particularly this risk multiplies in a city like Mumbai and the day of immersion represents the extremity of challenge. On this day around 55 lakh people descend on the streets of Mumbai, or you can say that almost half of the country’s commercial capital is out on the street bidding adieu to their favourite deity. Though comparisons are odious, the fact remains that such a large crowd does not gather even in Vatican city. Thousands of Ganesh idols descend on Girgaon chowpatty for immersion. Some people simply enter the choppy sea waters for immersing the idols. There is always the danger of being sucked in by the tidal waves of the sea. Besides, there is the danger from the sea creatures like sting ray and jelly fish on the beach which sting people who come near them. Police also have to protect the devotees from being stung by these creatures.
There was a great challenge before the Mumbai police to ensure that the festival passed off peacefully. There was intelligence input that the enemies of the nation are conspiring to cause sabotage during the crowded festival. In order to thwart the evil designs of the nefarious elements, the police had posted the secret news agents with the active cooperation of the alert citizens. There were 250 such persons who worked day and night. This kind of preparedness has had the most positive results during the festival and that is why women in Mumbai were roaming for ‘Ganpati darshan’ till late in the night without the fear of being robbed or molested. Due to the coordination between police and the public, even Muslim brethren in the Muslim dominated areas like Bhendibazar were seen welcoming Ganpati and the devotees. Actually, this type of bonhomie was the living embodiment of secularism. Another noteworthy fact is that despite so many people descending onto the street, there was no traffic jam. One more noteworthy fact is that without enforcing any type of diktat, most of the Mumbaikars had become vegetarians during the festival. This must be the grace of the Lord who instills wisdom in the people.
There is one more notable change witnessed in the recent times. Ganeshotsav is mostly celebrated by the Hindus but now people from other religions also take part with equal enthusiasm. Lokmat’s ‘She’ Ganpati has played a major role in this. At the same time, some people seem to look at this festival from commercial perspective. But it is better to celebrate this festival than the imported ones. Besides, people are seen celebrating other inter-religious festivals also all through the year. This must be construed as a major social change. Actually, Ganpati festival is the centre round which the Konkani culture revolves. The Konkanis are more attracted by Ganpati festival than even the Diwali. Ganpati idols are installed at every house and people go visiting from house to house to have darshan of the Lord who visits once a year.
Though chief minister Devendra Fadnavis hails from Vidarbha but after coming to Mumbai, he has adopted the culture and tradition of Mumbai. By taking darshan of the Lord Ganpati at the house of the common activists, he has set a new trend. He seems to have emerged as the real hero of Mumbai and Maharashtra police and hence deserves kudos.
Before I conclude…
The sense of unity exhibited by the Maratha community despite an unfortunate incident at Kopardi needs to be welcomed. We must not only welcome this fact but congratulate the community for taking out a silent procession. Generally, women from Maratha community do not come forth. But their presence in the morcha and the discipline shown by the organisers has set a new example before Maharashtra. I once again pray to Lord Gajanan to not let those at the other end of the spectrum come out with counter-morchas to exacerbate the atmosphere.