#MumbaiRains: The Gods Must Be Angry and Rightly So!

The one message that stood out in the volley of WhatsApp during the #MumbaiRains was about the Lal Baug cha Raja mandap being empty for the first time in history. At the time of crisis, people realise what is really important. No matter what the history of the Sarvajanik Ganesha celebrations in Maharashtra, it is high time we call this annual ritual exactly what is: a colossal waste.

Creative memes with titles like Floodnavis and costs of Shivaji statues (erected by BMC instead of drainage management) will float all around WhatsApp. Five days later, the same people will pollute every goddamn water body in the area with Ganesha idols and the millions of rupees worth of plaster of Paris pandals will be torn down and again disposed off in land fills? Remember no God or religion or political leader ever decreed that we need a million pandals in every nook and cranny of Mumbai. Or that we need to celebrate it by polluting the very city we live in!

Why in God’s name are we playing Justin Bieber and item songs on these pandal loudspeakers? Why are little kids in society Ganpatis gyrating to Bollywood hits with double meaning lyrics and their educated parents egging them on to perform better? Why has the state declared a 5-day holiday in schools instead of the one-day celebration that it used to be? Why do people take pride in causing traffic jams? Why do we need to show our devotion by queueing up outside these pandals for hours? Why does the city with the Siddivinayak temples need any more pandals?

Why can’t all societies encourage kids to make clay Ganesha’s with seeds and immerse them in pots in their own house? Why can’t the thousands of pandals dotting the streets of Parel and Dadar and Sion (the worst affected in the floods) adopt cancer families from Tata Memorial Hospital? No, it is not possible to change things overnight, but is it possible to stop donating to this waste and put that money to good use?



8 Comments Add yours

  1. mumthedoctor says:

    Well said! Yes it’s time we raised our voices against practices that pollute the very environment we live in. Thank you for making this statement.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swapna C says:

      Thanks. So glad you think so too 🙂 We need to do our bit and stop littering, conserve, reuse and teach our kids the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ooh… a Pandora’s box indeed! /I do agree that there is massive wastage that is not disposed off properly. Using eco friendly material would be a much better option. We can’t stop people from celebrating but can definitely try and incorporate eco friendliness and charity in the celebrations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swapna C says:

      We need to celebrate yes, but is this communal thing needed? I am not sure where we are headed with this and am wary of any organised charity unless I know who it is going to exactly. It would be lovely if people adopted their local community and did everything to improve the area.


      1. You know it is a very noble thought. But celebrations like these are treated as a vacation for lower middle classes who can’t afford them. Hence the communal revelry. Most prominent pandals have the backing of local heavyweights – politicians, business lobbyists or the kind. A decently affluent society I used to live in Kolkata celebrates Puja with fervour. This year they plan to get Usha Uthhup to sing. Someone in that group suggested donating that money to Assam flood relief instead and the backlash said, let us donate clothes and food to an NGO. No need to cut back on Puja celebration. The truth is people are ready to spend on themselves, not on others.


      2. Swapna C says:

        I wish people would treat spending on their own neighbourhood as spending on themselves. Donations may be tough, but I guess it is tougher to ask people to adopt the local playground and school where their own kids go and make the surrounding area in our own building clean.


  3. Saveeta Bajaj says:

    Agreed ! My point exactly as I fretted and fumed at our very own doings and how it is all coming back to us with a vengence !

    I am doing my part within my family. Lets start with changing ourselves. And spreading the word around. We need traditions not a circus!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Swapna C says:

      Thanks. Totally appreciate you for doing this and having the courage to speak up. Most people are scared of hurting religious sentiments!


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