On 9-11 Mumbai was probably the only city in India that celebrated four different cities of four communities, viz., Ganesh Chaturthi, Mahavir Jayanti, Eid and Bandra Mount Mary Fair. It would be the only city in India where people from such diversified communities exist peacefully and become a part of the festivities which may not be a part of their religious ethos. It all is a matter of faith and in case of Mumbai in particular it is faith that makes things move, otherwise it all is chaos.
So when the occasions of faith land in the city the whole city is on the streets to become a part of the festivities, as it is the strength that one derives from these celebrations which become a catalytic factor for them to rededicate themselves to the torturous daily living. No other city in India celebrates the festivals of other community with the same spirit as it is done in Mumbai, and therefore occasions of these kinds become a melting pot for the cultures and find expression in international forums as well by the sheer manner in which they are celebrated.
You have a Lalbaghcha Raja’s idol where people wait throughout the night to get the darshan, but one would never find somebody breaking the queue, everybody just becomes a part of the motion that slowly gravitates to the idol. Same is the case with Mount Mary in Bandra, or for that matter in and around Mohammed Ali road in Mumbai where festivities of Eid are celebrated in full swing. One has to be present there to understand and soak in the ambience. One talks about the night life of Singapore in context of the variety of cuisine that Singapore offers, but if one were to roam around Mohammed Ali road in Mumbai during the times of Ramzaan, Singapore’s palate would pale in comparison totally.
What can one talk about Ganesh Chaturthi, as it is celebrated in Mumbai? If Bal Gangadhar Tilak were to walk in Mumbai he would be amazed to see how the festival started by him to project the national pride has evolved. Indeed, it is one festival which has now foot-mapped whole of country and is celebrated with same fervor all over the country, but the manner in which it is done in Mumbai has no parallels.
One only hope that the same ethos develops all over the country and we really become cosmopolitan as once we gravitate to it, we would become professional in our approach as the element of “jan pehchan” would then go out of the window.
By: Suman Rai