Located on the busy Laxmi Road,the 127-year-old Guruji Talim Mandal,has many USPs. Other than being the third of the Manache Ganapatis,it also houses the only idol where the diety is actually riding his vahana. Pravin Pardeshi,president of the mandal,tells Partha Sarathi Biswas that the idol resembles a young wrestler,an indication of the mandals links to a gymnasium.
What are the uniqueness of this years festivity? What are the steps taken by the mandal to make the festival eco-friendly?
This year the mandal has decided to replicate the crystal palace in its decoration. The whole pandal would be fitted with chandeliers and it would be lighted up at night. We would focus on the theme of pollution and work accordingly.
The utsav moorthy of the Mandal is made of eco-friendly shadu clay. Also the gulal would be organic in nature. We have issued strict instructions to our mandal workers to ensure that the passersby are not smeared with gulal.
Tell us about the mandal and how you manage to keep it clear of political interferences?
The mandal was started by Muslim and Hindu families 127 years ago. Even now,our mandal sees active participation by many Muslim families. Since the last 27 years we have not asked for donation from any outsider. We,as a mandal,are not attached to any political party and take pains to ensure we retain our independence. As sarvajanik mandal we entertain every one but we dont allow any\ne to interfere in the mandal activities.
How is the mandal handling the security threats? Also how many dhol tasha pathaks would be employed?
We have installed eight CCTV cameras in and around the festivity areas. Also groups of 20 volunteers would be guarding the pandal round the clock. We have set up special squads to fight eve teasing during the peak hours.
What do you think would be the main challenges before the mandals in the years to come?
The challenge for Ganesh mandals would be keeping up the spirit of the festivals while being on the right side of the law. With laws becoming increasingly stringent,the balancing act would be tough.