Maha Utsav, now in Delhi

Maha Utsav, now in Delhi

The grandeur of Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in Maharashtra may be unparalleled, but the homecoming of bappa in Delhi is not lacklustre either. The Marathi community in Delhi is holding a 10-day long ‘Maharashtra Mahotsav’ spread over six venues and including 30 different cultural programmes, for which artistes have been flown in from Mumbai especially.

You can relish a taste of Maharashtra at Dilli Haat (INA and Pitampura), Kamani Auditorium, Siri Fort auditorium, India International Centre (IIC) and India Habitat Centre (IHC) till September 29. The highlights of the fest are the two grand idols of lord Ganesha made by acclaimed sculptor Ram Sutar installed at Dilli Haat INA and Pitampura.

This festival is held every year by the Sarvajanik Utsav Samiti – a body of prominent Marathis residing in the Capital. Its convenor RM Hejib, formerly Information Director with the government of Maharashtra, informs us, “The tradition of Ganeshotsav was started by freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak in 1893. He noticed how Maharashtrians loved this festival and that it could be organised at a community level to mobilise Marathis in the fight for freedom. Since then, it is held in a majestic style every year in Maharashtra and by Marathis all over the world.”

“While the history of this fest in Delhi goes back to the 1960s, the Samiti itself was formed in 1998 with the blessings of Maharashtrian leaders like Sharad Pawar, VN Gadgil, HR Gokhale, AP Shinde, BG Deshmukh and Planning Commission member SG Barve. The first president of the Samiti was Vasant Rao Sathe – ex-I &B minister. The aim has always been to provide an occasion of celebration to migrant Maharashtrians and give a flavour of the State – its arts, culture and festivities, to non-Maharashtrians in Delhi.”

The ten-day celebrations include world-renown Marathi plays, Marathi films, folk dance Lavani shows, classical dance, vocal recitals, literary meets, art exhibitions and much more. This year too, they have brought in theatre troupes to stage Dudhavarchi Saay, Punha Sahee Re Sahee and Hasa Chakat Fu - three famous plays of Maharashtra.

Besides, singers Dipali Kale, Shobhana Sathe, Arya Ambedkar, Prathamesh Laghate, Mugdha Vaishampayan and dancer Sriraman are also set to perform at different venues.
The main attractions would obviously be the makeshift temples with a statue of Ganesha each at Dilli Haat INA and Pitampura.

These have been made by famous sculptor Ram Sutar who’s created the statues of Mahatma Gandhi, Shivaji and Govind Vallabh Pant installed at Parliament complex, and one of Maharana Pratap at Chandni Chowk as well. These are in fibre glass and brought out every year for sthapna at these venues while two smaller mud figurines are immersed in Yamuna to prevent pollution. The modak given here as prasad are worth relishing.