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Centenary Ganesh Festival

August 31, 1992 to September 10,1992 the 11 days that proved historical and memorable for the Keshavji Naik Chawls.

As regards, the entire 1992 was significant for the present and past residents of the chawls. It was essential to celebrate the centenary of the first Ganesh festival in Mumbai on a grand scale.

Our centenary celebrations did not remain restricted to the 10 days of the festival; they actually started in the previous year and went on for an entire year. The festival was formally inaugurated on Vijayadashmi (Dussera). There were Eight Programmes held during this period, which received great response from locals and well-wishers.

The programmes included a Traditional Musical Programme presented by Ashok Hande and his group, a 'Rangoli' Competition and Exhibition, a Lecture Series on the English language by Prof Manohar Kochrekar, the Lokmanya Vyakhyanmala (a series of five lectures), a Drawing Competition, a Medical Camp, a Lecture on the Union Budget for the year and the grand finale in the form of the 10-day festival.

A programme that needs special mention here is the one on the English language which went on for 50 consecutive days. Prof. Kochrekar who taught English to all those who cared to attend it showed genuine concern to impart knowledge. His selflessness and down-to-earth nature should inspire all Sanshta activists.

On August 1, 1992 (on the death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak), we added something unique to the history of the festival. We brought out a book called 'Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Shatakachi Vatchal' (Public Celebration of Ganesh Festival, a journey of 100 years). It takes a look at the religious, cultural, social, political and economic aspect of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Festival in the last 100 years.

These programmes were conducted successfully. But much more enthusiasm was seen during the actual festival. Everyone from small children to old people-contributed to it and the festival was a grand success.

During the 10 days of our centenary festival, thousands of people, from different castes and communities, even celebrities from different fields, queued up to have a Darshan. The beautiful idol of Shree Ganesh, the ambience of a temple and a Wada from the Peshwa era and the decoration in the mandap were really eye-catching. All the programmes during these 10 days were conducted in the most efficient and disciplined manner.

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