City welcomes the New Year

City welcomes the New Year

Today is Gudi Padwa, and also the occasion of the fourth Bharatiya Nava Varsha Swagat Yatra (BNVSY), an apolitical procession organised by Shri Kopaneshwar Mandir Trust (SKMT) and supported by city-based educational institutes, social and religious trusts, and NGOs. The BNVSY is the combined celebration of New Years of many Hindu communities such as Gudi Padwa (Marathi), Ugadi (Malayali), Cheti Chand (Sindhi) Poila Baishakh (Bengali), Baisakhi (Punjabi), which all fall in March and April of every year.

This convener of this year’s procession is Sudhakar Vaidya, President of CKP Social Club. Although the procession marks the arrival of the Hindu New Year, residents from non-Hindu communities like Jews, Catholics, Sikhs, Parsis and Muslims also participate. Two years ago, Dr. Dawood A Dalvi, ex-Principal of DnyanSadhana College, convened the procession, indicating clearly that the procession is not only apolitical but also cuts across cast barriers.

At 7 am today, the main procession will begin from the Kopeneshwar Temple and travel through Dagdi Shala, three petrol pump, Hari Nivas circle, Marathon square, Gokhale Road, Ram Maruti Road, Masunda Lake and will reach Kopaneshwar Mandir by 10.30 am. Like in the previous years, floats with cultural, educational and social themes will feature in the procession. As part of Jidnyasa Trust’s waste management project, more than 150 of its volunteers will be positioned at three different locations on the path to collect disposable water glasses and other waste that might be generated during the mammoth procession.

As usual, the celebrations started yesterday with Deepotsav, a brilliant spectacle of the city being lit up with diyas and candles in the hands of scores of city residents. The past few years have seen Thane expanding in its geographical scope, so much so that now it has its own suburbs, which participate in the city’s celebrations in their own way. The SKMT has formed sub-committees to monitor the activities in the far-flung localities of the city. This year more than 200 individuals from Vasant Vihar and surrounding areas participated in a motorcycle rally. Dressed in traditional outfits, the rally covered Vasant Vihar, Lok Puram and all other residential complexes in Pokhran area, to terminate at the Upvan Lake at around Sunset, just in time for the Deepotsav. In order to prevent the wind from spoiling the fun, residents of Brahmand Society at Ghodbunder Road purchased transparent glasses to place floating candles. The city’s enthusiasm is surely contagious and seems to have travelled the distance. Pokhran, Ghobunder Road, Raila Devi and even the east part of city (Kopri colony and surrounding areas) are actively participating in the celebrations. Housing societies across the city, including those situated in the far away corners like Vijay Nagri and Ritu Park, have agreed to display Gudis on their premises, to underline the atmosphere of togetherness. Large-than-life Rangolis at at Gavdevi Maidan, New English School and Sant Tukaram Ground in Thane East will be the highlight of the event.

Over the past few years, people of Thane have leapt across the barriers of cast and creed to coexist in harmony by respecting every religion and celebrating "unity in diversity", a phrase that we’re taught in school but seem to forget as we grow up. The city deserves a pat on its back as it preserves the cultural, social and religious heritage of our country. We wish all residents of Thane a very happy, harmonious and prosperous New Year.

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