Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Maharashtra's Biggest Cultural Export - Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav

Ganapati Visarjan

Arguably the most famous export of Marathi Culture is the Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav. Earlier it was restricted to areas outside Maharashtra where Marathi speaking population was sizeable like Hyderabad, Indore and Vadodara. But in the last decade, this frenzy has reached all corners of India… from Kerala to Assam. In fact the visarjan scene in Allahabad was big enough to attract a TV report!

Gwalior Palace
Everyone knows that Lokmanya Tilak started Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav but very few people know that the concept comes from outside the boundaries of present day Maharashtra! The Shinde (Scindhia) Durbar in Gwalior used to have a grand celebration in the palace where people would congregate in front of a large Ganesh idol. Tilak obviously thought that this tool can be used to motivate people to interact with each other and take on the British. Today, Mumbai alone has 6000+ Sarvajanik Ganesh Mandals!

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