Chennai: A government order that imposed 24 conditions for celebrating Vinayaka Chaturthi this September 13, has stirred a hornet’s nest with several Hindu organisations including the staunch campaigner Hindu Munnani, raising the banner of revolt demanding the government to revoke the GO immediately.
At least, 17 conditions that violated the ‘fundamental rights’ of Hindus should be struck down, says Hindu Munnani. “Some of the conditions stipulated in the GO have gone against the fundamental rights of Hindus in celebrating the greatest among the festivals in a grand manner,” Hindu Munnani’s city general secretary T. Elango said. The GO stipulates the time for conducting puja for the idols installed ahead of the Ganesh Chaturthi and immersion besides issues a directive not to use photographs of political leaders or religious leaders.
“We never use the images of political leaders in our processions but can a secular government prohibit the use of religious leaders’ photos during a rally conducted by Hindus? Also, we should decide the timing for puja and not the government,” he told this DC on Tuesday.
The seven restrictions in particular, he says should be scrapped to facilitate the smooth conduct of the festival. More than any other festival, the Vinayaka Chaturthi festival knits all people and does not divide the people on economic criteria.
This annual event attracts families from the middle or lower classes, too, he argues.
The Hindu Munnani was first among the organisations in the state to switch to eco-friendly idols using clay for very small idols and papier-mâché or tapioca for bigger idols ranging up to 12 or 13 feet.
Also, the organisation utilises natural dyes to enhance the beauty of the idols.
In the past, in certain cases, bhoondi or dates or even dry fruits were utilised to made colourful images of Lord Ganesh and later immersed into the sea.
“The major highlight of this festival is the unity among people. Even women and children join the procession to immerse the idols during the visarjan ceremony.
The restrictions like obtaining no objection certificate (NOC) sufficiently ahead from local authorities permission for light and sound from police and location from fire and rescue service department, tantamounts to discouraging the people from participating in the celebrations,” claims N. Subramanian of Jankalyan.
Wondering if the government would impose restrictions on the processions being taken out by Muslims or Christians in the State, as well, Hindu Munnani senior ‘Pasuthai’ Ganesan asserts that imposing conditions would mean that the officials or government is “attempting to regulate the conduct of the festival.” “Will the same thing happen for our brethren in other religions when they intend to take out processions later this year,” Mr Ganesan asked.
“Another worrisome stipulation is the use of clay. Is it possible to source clay for 10 feet idols, especially when we are facing scarcity of raw material and abject lack of skilled manpower to produce clay idols of such size? Even a one-foot idol develops fissures the next day and breaks apart during procession. Is it possible to make huge idols of the Lord with clay alone?” asks Elango....