Ganesh Chaturthi 2019 special: How Lord Ganesha contributed to India’s freedom struggle
New Delhi, Aug 28: Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated in many parts of India. It is celebrated with great fervour in mainly Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Today the festival is celebrated in very large scale, but it is hard to believe that just a century ago that was not the case. Ganesh Chaturthi and the festival of Lord Ganesha was mainly an household affair and was not a public festival the way it is in its current form.
In Maharashtra Ganesh Chaturthi was initiated by Maratha empire under Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and it continued to celebrated with fervour under the Peshwa rule.
In the year 1857 the famous Indian Rebellion of 1857 took place. Also called as Sepoy Mutiny and was considered as India's first war for Independene. Bal Gangadhar Tilak was one prominent leaders of this rebellion. He realised that Indians need to come together and the easiest way to do that was brining them together through idol worship.
Tilak observed that Lord Ganesha is the god worshipped by all castes and classes. Tilak reinvented the Ganesh Chaturthi as the festival which brought people together. It soon became a 10-day festival with huge gatherings.
In the year 1893 Tilak organised Ganeshotsav as a social and religious functions. Through the Ganesh Chaturthi and Lord Ganesha's festival he channelised the patriotic spirit bringing the household festival into the streets. It brought a sense of unity amongst massed against the British through the festival unlike the political gatherings that British would not allow.
As part of the Ganesh Chaturthi festival cultural events like, dance, drama, public debates were organised all of which spread the message of independence.
Hence, Lord Ganesha played a major rule through Ganesh Chaturthi festival in India's independence struggle.