Beginning of Ganesh Utsav and the inspiration behind it
When Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak declared for Swarajya, the right to self-rule he coupled it with another masterstroke, becoming a rallying cry of resistance. Ganesh Chaturthi, a festival dedicated to the elephant -headed sage, has been celebrated since ancient times; It was revived by Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the mighty founder of Hindu Swarajya. Although it was generally a private festival, Tilak had the foresight to understand that Ganesha’s universal appeal cut across caste and class lines. He is the architect of today’s grand public celebration.
1. Lokmany Tilak planned to organize Ganesh Utsav for 10 days.
2. Installation and re-installation of Ganesha idol with procession (Vis Arjan) Combined procession of Ganesh idol with dance and music became the main attraction of Ganesh Utsav where in the beginning you spilled and after few years lakhs of people gathered.
3. Various entertainment and educational programs like speeches, kirtans, gatherings, singing etc. were organized by the people during the festival for 9 days.Lokmany Tilak used to prepare a list of orators, kirtankars or instrumentalists and prepare a list of subjects and poems. Distribute it to all Ganesh Mandals in Pune and Maharashtra.
4. The British tried to create obstacles in Ganeshotsau. But Lokmanya Tilak tried hard to solve any disaster before it happened. 5. During that time untouchables were not allowed to enter the temple. But the public Ganeshotsav was planned in such a way that Ganesha idols were placed in different places or streets during the festival. So that people of all castes can visit and worship.
5. During that time untouchables were not allowed to enter the temple. But the public Ganeshotsav was planned in such a way that Ganesha idols were placed in different places or streets during the festival. So that people of all castes can visit and worship.
6. Lokmany Tilak created a platform for open education through public Ganesh Utsau. He used various media such as speeches, kirtan, melave, daam, sculpture, poetry to enlighten the people. Ganeshotsau has become a means of mass education.
7. Public Ganesha Utsau has become a medium of publicity due to its huge popularity and massive gatherings and public participation. And along with Swarajya and Nationalism various issues such as Swadeshi, National Education, Money Funding (Cooperation), Anti Liquor, Sports etc. were discussed. cussed on this platform. After achievement of independence, Ganesh Utsau remained as publicity platform for various social issues as well as commercial products.
8. The Ganesh festival and the Shivjayanti festival were the grand success. People understood the true state of affairs of the country under the British rule through lectures. Their patriotic spirit began to wax and realization began to sink in that they must do something. The people also began to see Tilak as a great leader whose thinking and action plans were realistic and goal oriented. His stature grew considerably, first across all Maharashtra and indeed through out India as the people came together and worshipped, sang, met, discussed and were changed. Yet another advantage of Ganesh Utsav was that in nineteenth century people in spite of social religion and economical class came together resulting in social accord.
Such community festivals created a consciousness among the peo ple from all walks of life, religion and caste and the British authorities were quite alarmed by this development. They recognized that Tilak’s stature among the leaders of India was grow ing rapidly, that he was fast becoming a national figure and a thorn in the side of British rule that was required. to be removed. In 1908, when Lokamanya Tilak was sentenced for treason and the British Government then took steps to break the movement started by Lokmanya Tilak and issued a sum mons in 1909 stating, “Lokmanya Tilak, Lala Lajpatral, Bipinchandra Pal and others were considered to be the enemies of the nation. Displaying their photos, taking out processions by their name and distribution of any article was banned on public roads as well as in Ganesh Festival ” Ref. 29th Sept. 1909, Pg. 5 Kesari.
In 1905 Lord Curzon partitioned Bengal, Ganesh festival and Shiva Jayanti played an important role in bringing common people together and developing self-esteem and desire for self-government.
The then Police Commissioner of Mumbai, S.M. Edward said, ” Celebration of Ganesh Utsav is a conspiracy which has been created against the British Government like at first it was seen as a religious move ment of Hindus against Muslims. Through this Lokmanya Tilak created a feeling of national awakening among the people. Putting forth a feeling of patience and comprehensiveness of Hindu religion, he tried to reduce the division in the society and created a feeling of national unity. He made this concept acceptable to the society by taking help from Hindu religious institutions like Arya Samaj Ramkrishna mission.
Utsav when Lokmany Tilak was imprisoned (1908-1914)
The true inspiration of Ganesh Utsav. It was a time when people talked a lot about Swaraj, Swadeshi and Boycott. It was a time when people were strongly opposed to the British government. In 1908, Lokmanya Tilak was again convicted of second treason and sentenced to six years in prison. But this did not change the nature of Ganeshotsav. In 1909, the British government suppressed this movement by passing some laws. Although people did not protest openly during Tilak’s imprisonment, they started protests against the police across Maharashtra. People deliberately broke the ban and willingly suffered the punishment imposed by the British government.
British Government Obstructions 1909:
The British Government start ed picking up the names of the people who participated in Bhajans, Dramas, Melas. In 1909, British Government put a ban on Melas and devotional songs or poems sung in such melas. As Swaraj and Swadeshi were strictly banned, the songs and poems had to pass through censorship of the British Government.
The period 1908 to 1914. The new concepts of Paisa Fund and Swadeshi had started sowing its roots. An American Researcher Richard Cashmen expressed his opin ion as why Lokmanya Tilak must have chosen bhagwan Ganesha Ganapati is a God of many virtues. Ganesha is. a God of Wisdom. He is worshipped at the beginning of any auspicious occasion. He is a beloved and favourite of all in all the religions in India .bhagwan Ganapati is a manifesta tion of three fundamental philoso phies of Hindu Dharma, namely, Devotion Atheism and Action. bhagwan Ganesha is the son of bhagwan Shiva. He has many virtues. He possesses all the qualities of a Commander. He also has all the leadership qualities. He is believed to be a Trouble shooter and extends help and support in the challenging situations.
In 1910, thirty Ganesh fairs sent their scripts for approval. In the same year, the British Government started registering the names, castes and age of the people who participated in various fairs.
In 1912, the British government also banned participating in Ganesh immersion procession. The gathering was the highlight of the immersion procession. The British government tried to weaken the Ganeshotsav movement by banning fairs. People were banned from making “Tilak maharaj ki Jai” “Shivaj Maharaj Ki Jai”. The younger generation created an unpleasant fear. Playing traditional instruments and fishing like lezim was also a hit because the British government banned the use of sticks during the festivities.
Ganeshotsav cannot be imagined without Lokmanya Tilak. Though the consciousness of the people was awakened by the troubles of the British Government., the movement was slow. This was reflected in the Sanmitra Samaj Mela
Kuni Bal Tilak mahi dava,
kuni tari dava ge bai |
Bal nahi na, thata tyavin suna ||
Karma dasha hi mazyamagil na kale
kevha sarate |
Zurate nishidini kinva yatach ek divas mi marate ||
Demonstrated a uniform demand for Swarajya in Lucknow. One should see Ganesh Utsav as the utsav of people, the utsav of nationality and national integration. It’s not mere a fun or a gathering of people, but in true sense it is the National Festival. The one who can differentiate between a public festival and a national festival would under stand the further directions of Ganesh Utsav. To conclude : Ganesh festival was the masterstroke by Lokmanya Tilak to unite the mass es, to educate them and to convince them for action.
In short Ganesh festival has achieved
- Ganesh festival brought all the people together in spite of religion, cast or creed.
- To create nationalism
- To make aware of swaraj (freedom) rights.
- To make aware of their
- Created power people goods,
- To make aware importance of indigenous industry, i.e. swadeshi.
- To create self respect.
- To fight against injustice.
- To make aware of their social duty without selfish motives.
- Ganesh Utsav become a platform to educate masses.
- Platform for publicity.
- Ganesh Utsau created employment for artists, musicians, singers, etc.
- Ganesh utsav created mar ket and developed turnover and trade.
- Ganesh utsav helped to increase sales of indigenous goods.
- Ganesh utsau created ground level leaders and helped to learn organizations skills.