"Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Shatakachi Vatchal"
-a book published by SGS
For decades now the chawls of Mumbai have been like
cultural oases in the midst of rapid industrialization in the city. This
very special characteristic of the residents of these chawls has been
the driving force behind Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandals of Mumbai.
After Pune, the Ganeshotsav in Mumbai is the most
popular and dramatic event in this part of the state. The event
has a proud history that began with the call for celebrating the
festival with public participation given by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar
Tilak in 1893 in his newspaper "Kesari". The first to respond to
the call were the residents of the Keshavji Naik Chawl.
After crossing the century mark in the celebration
the Ganeshotsav mandal of the chawl brought out a book called "Sarvajanik
Ganeshotsav Shatakachi Vatchal"detailing the very impressive history
of the festival and the celebrations.
From cover to cover the 252-page book is a collector's
item providing the reader glimpses of the motivation behind making
the festival a public affair, its success as a tool to create social
awareness and garner support for the Independence movement while
at the same time introducing one to the activities of the mandal
that made the whole event possible.
The book has photographs of the Lokmanya, taken by the famous photographer
Virkar and the reproduction of a rare painting depicting the Ganesh
festival during the time of the Peshwa. The choice of the pictures
and paintings shows aesthetic taste on the part of the people who
put the book together.
Inside the book one comes across the Lokmanya's
editorials written in 1894, 95 and 96 on why he made the Ganeshotsav
a public affair and how he saw a link between the celebrations
and national awakening. Also reproduced in the book are portions
of speeches delivered by the Lokmanya during the Ganeshotsav celebrations
at various places.
A major section comprises essays by such prominent writers like
Govind Talwalkar, Mrunalini Desai, Arun Tikekar, Ravindra Ramdas,
B N Jog, Yashwant Pathak, Ashok Ranade, Jayant Salgaonkar and
Prakash Kamat. The essays talk of the mythological history of
Ganesha as a God, the political and administrative impact of the
movement that the Ganeshotsav celebrations caused and its social
and cultural effect on the psyche of the Indian people, especially