I don’t dislike Lord Ganesh, I just dislike the festival. How can I hate the son of someone I adore? This is just a list of things that make me dislike Ganesh Chaturthi.
Although I am an atheist, I still love the man, the legend and the myth: Shiva.
I imagine about Shiva, it’s a favorite pastime of mine. This is how I imagine him:
I also have high expectations about Ganesh too.
This is not how I imagine Ganesh is like:
This is how I imagine he is like:
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Few hundred years ago, there was a war that happened between Vaishnavas and Shivas. It is not a war where people fought with swords. It’s the one fought with words. It is a cultural war.
Vaishnava scholars wrote stories about the Great God Vishnu. That constantly praised Vishnu. And also made a fool every other god. That is why we stories about how Vishnu saved the day by helping Indra or Shiva. It is always Shiva who gets in trouble. He grants wishes to the demons and gets stuck with it.
While Shiva is stuck in this trouble, Vishnu comes along to save the day. It is a common theme that is found in Vishnu stories. Almost like a thoroughly planned TV series plot. That is what I hate about the Myths surrounding Vishnu – it is too predictable.
In this attempt, to defame other gods, they wrote funny stories about them too.
Take the God of thunder Indra (The Hindu equivalent of Zeus, Jupiter, and Odin)
People prayed to Indra back in the day. These days, no one even treats him like he is a serious God. We often forget that Indra is the god of Thunder and Nature itself.
But he was turned into a fool. He has illicit affairs. He runs away from a battle. The demons chase him. He is a womanizer. His image has been destroyed by the Vaishnavas. In order to replace the old Gods, the stories were important.
That attempt was made on Shiva too. There are so many stories where Shiva’s character is being downplayed. Shiva’s devotees aka Sadhus tolerated it because they were peaceful people.
Later, Shiva scholars also wrote stories about Shiva saving Vishnu. However, the sadhus stayed away from this cultural war.
Sadhus don’t really care about what anyone has to say about anything – not even about Shiva. Because they say, words don’t hurt shiva – he has the third eye. The truth about Shiva is all they care about.
There is so much propaganda in this festival. They plugged in Krishna to get him some points as well.
How to tell who wrote it? See if it is artistic or poetic. Vaishnavas are more poetic than artistic.
Do I see a piece of imagination? Or am I seeing an answer to a question? Is it metaphorical? Or does it rhyme?
If the plot is predictable and too righteous, Vaishnava scholars (the Brahmins) wrote it.
But it makes you imagine, then it came from the tribals. That God who sounds super artistic is the creation of a genius, one who could even be considered God.
Fuelled only by tradition
Why are you celebrating? What are you celebrating? If you ask these questions about other festivals, I have answers.
Why do you celebrate Sankranti? You thank the Gods for a successful harvest.
Why do you celebrate Dasara? Goddess Durga killed a demon and saved everyone.
Why Diwali? Because Ram came home after winning the battle with Ravana.
But why do you celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi? I don’t have an answer. No one has any idea about what they are celebrating. The most common is its tradition.
Even the rituals are a hell of confusion. You get your school textbooks blessed and also listen to the story so you don’t get cursed?
If you don’t celebrate it, bad things will happen to you. If you don’t hear the story, bad things will happen to you.
Oh and the story offers no help in understanding this festival either.
And the story
In the story, Shiva is eaten by Bakasura and Parvathi goes to Vishnu and pleads to him to get her husband back. Vishnu saves the day and Shiva comes home. Only to find a little kid stop him from entering his own home. So Shiva kills him in anger. So Shiva killed a kid in anger.
Then he brings him back after a plastic Surgery. The kid eats too much and gets fat when moon laughs at him. The kid’s tummy is burst. [Some mix of fat humor?] Then Parvati curses in anger. However, she gives the spell-breaker right away.
Somehow, Krishna comes into the story and it’s about being accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Now Krishna is in trouble because he has seen the crescent moon in the reflection in some milk. And so he is cursed. Then he has to fight a bear to lift the curse. Yeah, also, Krishna marries a little bear cub. The curse is even more lifted after you hear the second story. The second relief is provided by Krishna.
The whole thing is a clear propaganda piece. Shiva is treated as a secondary character, just to elevate Vishnu.
When I hear that story, as a writer, I know its not good. In fact, it’s a terrible story. When you consider just the story, it’s a bad story.
But when I hear stories about Shiva, they are always interesting and artistic.
But this story super ridiculous. If I saw this in a tv series, I would have given this season poor rating.
The way it is celebrated
People take donations from the people in the local area. They put up an Idol of Ganesha where people can come and pray. But they compete to put the biggest and tallest Ganesha.
You don’t really have many options but to contribute to the Ganesha Fund because then you will be considered as a bad person and will be singled out by the group. You don’t want that. So you pay.
The whole thing is about showing off how devotional they are and how sincere they are. How good of a person they are for doing such a nice thing.
Oh and the virtue signaling. Look how good of a person I am. Look I am praying, I wishing everyone happy Ganesh Chaturthi. Look I even bought laddu for a lot of money. So that people will think that they are so cool for buying the Laddu.
The Nimarjans cause so much damage to the lakes. Almost all of the lakes in Hyderabad are unsanitary to drink because of water pollution. When I see these giant plaster of Paris idols are dumped into the lakes, my heart breaks really hard.
There is pollution in everything they do. They cause air pollution by firing crackers and they cause sound pollution with the loudspeakers and the loud theenmar beat.
The very celebration of this festival is dancing and enjoying the Nimarjan. A big part of it is the nimarjan.
This wasn’t clearly thought by our ancestors. The traditions that come from our ancestors always include ideas of freedom and a love for nature.
The drunk dancers
People get drunk and dance. Why are you drunk and why are you dancing? How is this praying?
Okay! I am an atheist. It’d be pretty hypocritical to ask why are you having fun. But this is a real nuisance.
The idols are paraded in the streets as men get drunk and dance to a fun beat. It’s not about devotion. Whatever the reason be, it is causing so much damage.
They cause traffic jams, sound pollution, and general unpleasantness.
There is so much superstition hidden under it. Hate that too.
Just imagine if Shiva heard about this festival where people get drunk and danced on the streets while causing damage to nature.
I wonder how mad would he be. In my guess, he would be pretty mad that you are polluting his lakes, rivers and his earth.
All this is his. And so he would be mad that we are destroying the nature. And then also the traffic all the while you are drunk and dancing on the streets.
Whose idea was this whole festival? This is a complete disaster. Shiva won’t like this and Ganesh wouldn’t too.