As India begins to welcome her favourite Ganpati Bappa , Ganesh Utsav which is nothing less than a phenomenon in Maharashtra would see it’s 125th year of celebration . As we prepare to soak ourselves in the divine grace of the Gajanana (the one with an elephant head) , let’s look into the history of this phenomenon for better understanding.
Ganesh Utsav , begins on the day of Bhadrapada Shukla paksh chaturthi , also known as Ganesh or Vinayak Chaturthi is a hindu festival that revers Lord Ganesh. The festival remembers Ganesha’s birthday and celebrates him as the God of good beginnings and remover of all obstacles . The beginning of the festival is unclear but historical evidences suggest that the festival became a major historical and social event under the sponsorship and patronage of Shivaji after the hindu-muslim wars .
Under the British Raj , the festival lost its Royal and state Patronage until it’s revival by Indian Freedom Fighter and Social Reformer Bal Gangadhar Tilak . The festival was vogue as a public procession or a private celebration in then Bombay (now Mumbai) . According to other historians , the festival became a public event later on as Bhausaheb Laxman Javale popularly known as Bahu Rangari installed the first Ganesha idol publically in Pune . Tilak who championed the festival as a means to circumvent The British Government’s ban on Hindu Gatherings through it’s anti-public assembly legislation 1982 , dedicated his efforts into launching the otherwise domestic festival into a large well-organised public event . Tilak recognised Ganesha’s appeal as “The God Of Everybody” , there by building a grass-root level unity amongst the hindus against the British. Tilak himself installed large Ganesha idols in Bombay Presidency and recruited committed himself passionately after the hindu-muslim riots of 1893 as he felt that the Colonial Goverment has taken sides and was particularly favouring the muslim community .
This embarked the beginning of the 125 years and so on and so forth festival 9f Ganesh Utsav .
Ganpati Bappa Morya!