Written by Bushra Satkhed & Sadaf Inamdar
With the Chandrayaan-2 lunar mission coinciding with Ganesh festival, members of Ganpati Shivaji Mitra Mandal of Tilak Road decided to build the pandal on the theme of the historic mission. A five-foot-tall Ganesha idol was placed alongside a 10-foot-tall satellite.
“This was a moment of huge pride for the entire nation. ISRO did so much with the resources they had, and getting as far as they did was incredible,” said a volunteer, speaking about the inspiration for the theme.
Pratap Mitra Mandal of Rasta Peth was concerned about the issue of reservation. “During Ganeshotsav, we hope to engage the youth in the much-needed conversation regarding reservation. Although the idea was introduced to narrow the divide between the different strata of Indian society, almost every section is now demanding it. It’s our firm belief that people are Indian first, regardless of caste, religion,” said a member.
The mandal is holding a play based on this concept on all days of the festival. “The play runs for 20 minutes and is centred around people in different circumstances. We have tried to depict the plight of farmers and soldiers fighting at the border with sensitivity…,” added a volunteer.
In the old city area of Shukrawar Peth, the Seva Mitra Mandal has set up a colourful stage to display a theatrical drama for children. The play, titled Gosht Choti Dongaraevti, is about a child neglected by his parents, suffering in isolation and how he is driven to suicidal thoughts. “The idea was to show how, in today’s fast-paced lifestyle, some parents do not pay enough attention to their children and the impact it has on their minds. The tale is small, but the message it gives is as big as a mountain,” said one of the organisers.
Around another corner stands the Sharada Ganesh Mandir, which based its theme on the Jain Temple of Rajasthan. Speaking about the elaborate design, a volunteer said, “It took about one month to build this decor, which contains all the 24 tirthankaras of Jainism along with the Ganpati”
The Ganesh Mitra Mandal came up with a surprising concept that revolved around the Hollywood movie The Avengers. Located near Laxmi Road, it includes figures of the characters inspired from the movie and children enjoyed their time in the arcade section of the mandal.
Azad Mitra Mandal’s pandal displays the saga of Radha-Krishna, with its unique decorations and lighting. The love story of Radha and Krishna is reflected in this theme with folk music revolving around the mythological tale. Passers-by lined up to view the ornate arrangements on Tilak Road.
Not just decor, several mandals have also provided a stage for theatre.
Garadganpati Mitra Mandal of Shivajinagar organised a play to celebrate Bhagat Singh’s life. A spectator said, “Such portrayals, depicting our struggle for independence, should inspire the young generation to work towards bringing about change today. It’s encouraging to witness so many people line up the street to catch a glimpse of this play as it sends a very moving message”.
The Gosavi Mitra Mandal holds plays on societal issues every year. Last year, the theme revolved around Shivaji Maharaj and the Maratha Morcha. This year, it is the Tiware dam breach in Chiplun district. Discussing the incident, Prashant Mate, president of the Mandal, said, “Water conservation is the need of the hour. We are all quick to shift the blame to each other only after a disaster has occurred. People need to realise that change begins at home. Through this artistic medium, we hope the message reaches a large audience”