Lucknow, Sep 17: The organisers of Ganesh Chaturthi appear to have taken a leaf out of the books of Durga Puja organisers in West Bengal. Social themes this year are vying for attention along with comic characters in the pandals.
The festivities on the Hindu elephant-God Ganesha kick off on Thursday with the fabricated structures housing the idol presenting glimpses of contemporary issues such as Swachh Bharat (clean India), Yoga, scourge of terrorism and saving the girl child.
These issues are close to the heart of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as seen in his campaigns. Also vying for attention are the ubiquitous Walt Disney characters such as Micky Mouse and the all-time favourite of people of all ages, Spiderman.
Gone are the days when people in the land of nawabs would stand in serpentine queues waiting to seek the blessings of the pot-belied Ganesha. The pandals across the city now throw in entertainment to bring in the crowds, not unlike their counterparts in Kolkata or elsewhere, where Durga puja celebrations bring in a touch of fun.
According to the organisers, not only Ganesha would be giving the faithfuls the darshan but the pandals will also enlighten them on where the government and perhaps society wants them to go -- towards cleanliness, health and social consciousness.
At the Ganesh pandal at Ramadhin Inter College, there will be large cut-outs of cartoon characters urging parents to send their children to school. A pandal, where a mid-sized Ganesha has been brought from Maharashtra, would depict the ugly face of terrorism through pictures of the terrorist attack on a Pakistani school.
At Bada Shivalaya in Sankatadevi temple, the idol will talk about the menace of reservation in jobs and seeking its support to end it, according to an organiser.
At the Aminabad, Ganesha would be seen in 16 postures of Yoga. Organizer Atul Awasthi says the hall would be plastered with posters in yoga mudras stressing on the need to be healthy.