While many old hands used to organising such festivals year after year are sulking, the younger generation is playing an increasing role in organising the virtual celebration of the festival.
After the muted celebrations of Eid, Raksha Bandhan and Independence Day in view of the Coronavirus pandemic in the country, festival enthusiasts are bracing for online celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi festival. Considered a period of major festivity in Maharashtra, the Ganesh Chaturthi is celebrated with much fanfare in the northern parts of the country as well including in the national capital. However, the preparation this year is unlike the preparations done every year. Instead of doing large scale pandal arrangements, crowd management, decoration and ritual planning, the organisers this year are busy creating online facebook, Google, Zoom video links, arranging virtual darshans of Lord Ganesha and ensuring that the online celebrations rituals ceremony is attended by the maximum number of people. Sanitation and health safety protocols for a limited number of devotees who will accompany the deity at the Pandal are also being planned by the Puja organisers, according to a PTI report.
Nivedita Pande who is a member of the Marathi Mitra Mandal, Alaknanda in the NCR region told PTI that organising any festival in Covid times is very difficult but breaking the tradition of celebrating the festivals is considered a bad omen. She also informed that the over 10 day period of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations has been curtailed this time to one and a half days.
Apart from the shift in the medium of celebrations, organisers of the festivals have also gone for a toss. While many old hands used to organising such festivals year after year are sulking, the younger generation is playing an increasing role in organising the virtual celebration of the festival. Pande told PTI that most members of her committee are very old and the younger tech savvy generation has pitched in to ensure that we can arrange FB live aarti and virtual darshans.
Neena Hejib, executive chairman of Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti, a body of prominent Marathis residing in Delhi also told PTI that Lord Ganesha this time will be welcomed in one of the members’ house and no visitors will be allowed for darshan. However, he added that the organisers will organise a Zoom aarti. Every year Sarvajanik Utsav Samitia used to organise grand celebrations laced with theatre, music and dance performances.
Gurgaon-based Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti is also planning online celebrations for a week this year as the Samiti is also celebrating the 100th death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak, who started the Ganpati festivals and blended it well with the freedom movement of the country.
In tune with the muted celebrations everywhere, the Maharashtra Sadan will also not organise any Ganpati procession this year in Delhi. Pramod Kolapte, liaison officer, Maharashtra Sadan told PTI that a very limite people will be allowed to partake in the morning and evening aarti.