Bal Gangadhar Tilak started the tradition of bringing home an idol of Lord Ganesh or Ganpati for a ten day festival. The idea was to foster a sense of community and nationalism with skits, bhajans and motivational and spiritual discourse .
Today the celebrations have changed with political sponsorship and Bollywood colouring the idea of entertainment.
However despite the crass commercialisation , noise pollution and general lack of religious sentiment, I still like this festival.
When I was a little girl, my mother used to bring a small clay idol for my brother and me . We stopped this practice when we grew older and I always wanted to have one in my own home.
But Ganpati worship is not something to be taken lightly and my mother-in-law discouraged me from keeping one at home . Celebrating Ganesh is supposed to be a family tradition and since our family didn't follow it, she felt I shouldn't start a new custom.
Fate, had different plans though and one Diwali I was gifted a lovely little silver idol. The Universe had conspired to get me a Ganesh!
My little girls were thrilled with the little Ganesh and since then, we've been keeping Ganpati in our home. Initially we kept the idol out for 10 days . The girls enjoyed the decorating, the modaks and the singing of prayers. But once again my mother-in-law suggested we keep him only for 1 1/2 days.
For a while I wanted to stop altogether especially when the girls were away at college and left home . But Hubby Dear discouraged me from doing so.
So today we took out our little Ganesha and scrubbed him clean and kept him ready for tomorrow. Wow Dinga and Little Po will help help in gobbling the modaks !
May Lord Ganesh bless and keep you all !