& occasionally about other things, too...

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Month of festivals

The month after the onset of the monsoon (Bhadrapad) marks the beginning of the Ganesh festival in Mumbai. August 23 is Ganesh Chaturthi this year.
The earlier month -- Shravan -- is also a month of religious festivities. August 5 is Raksha Bandhan, August 14 is Krishna Janmasthami.
August 21 is the first day of Ramadan.
If you’ve spent even a day in India, you realise that religion forms an integral part of people’s existence. The over-arching reach of religion is so all encompassing that it doesn’t even leave the non-believer alone.
And I don’t mean organised religion by this. It’s the lone believer who remains steadfastly devoted in her belief of the all mighty that really moves the proverbial mountains.
In India secularism is not a separation between the state and religion (as it was originally propounded in Europe), but a celebration of all religions by the state. Multicultural Canada is no different. In fact, it's vastly more enriching and varied in its celebration of different cultures and religions.
Is it any wonder South Asian in general and Indians in particular take to Canada as duck to water?
Ganesh, the God of knowledge (and I should say the first journalist – he reported and interpreted the Mahabharata as Vyas, the creator of the Mahabharata, narrated the epic), is the presiding deity of Mumbai.
I’ve often wondered why or rather how this has come about? Mumbai is the city of gold, and justifiably, the city worships the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi in all its forms. But it reserves its passion and fervour for the god with an elephant’s head.
There’s history, of course. And if you’re interested, take a look at one of my earlier journalistic pieces I wrote for my newspaper The Daily (when Rajat Sharma was its editor). Click here for a feature on Lokmanya Tilak and the Ganesh festival.

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