Ganpati for Peace and Harmony

Ganpati for Peace and Harmony

While for most people Ganesh Chaturthi is a festival to be celebrated with vigour, for the Pitale family, it is an opportunity to educate, enlighten and send a forceful and socially relevant message to the community. Every year during Ganpati, the living room of the Pitale residence at Cherai gets transformed into a mini theatre which exhibits a special show with an unusual theme. In the past they’ve had themes like the secret behind the rainbow, the solar eclipse phenomenon and even the Big Bang theory of the origin of the Universe. Each show is well planned, complete with appropriate light and sound effects.

This year the Pitales chose "Evolution of Religion" as the theme. In these days of heightened communal tension, the subject is highly relevant. The messages are powerful and visitors who become spectators come out with a feeling of deep contemplation. The 10-minute long show begins with a voiceover as follows:

"I am a Hindu, I am a Christian, I am a Muslim.
But why?
Because my father belonged to that religion.
But, what about primitive man? Was he a Hindu, a Christian, a Muslim or any other religion?
He had no religion. He was just a human being – albeit one with more intelligence than other animals. He created religion for his convenience."

And thus begins a compelling journey of evolution that covers all the stages of progression of religions. It covers the lifestyle of the primitive man, and how, for the purpose of security, he lived in groups. "This is how", the voice proclaims, "the first seeds of religion were planted."

The show goes on to discuss the early phases and transitions of Hinduism, Christianity and Islam with references to the Vedas, the Bhagwad Geeta, the Bible and the Quran. Throughout the show, the background changes to echo the respective religion.

The show emphatically puts across the point that at the core we are all humans, and that religion exists to facilitate our existence in a collaborative manner. At one point, as we stare at the beautifully decorated stand and the lovely Ganesha idol, the voice says, "The rituals of naming a child differ from one religion to another but the innocence reflected in the child’s laughter is the same. Just as the tears in the bride’s eyes, as she bids adieu to her parents, are also the same, be it a Shaadi, a Wedding or a Nikhah.

Tushar Pitale, an engineer from IIT, and one of the brains behind these annual shows, reveals some rather interesting encounters he had while researching for the script of the show. He says, "I met so many Hindus, Christians and Muslims – and all of them knew about Ganpati’s relevance. Not only that; all the people I met, regardless of religion, subscribed to the idea of harmony. In fact I met a couple if Muslims who knew more about ancient Hindu literature than so many Hindus do."

The show ends with a thought provoking statement, "Call Him Bhagwan, Lord Almighty or Allah, the power which keeps this Universe moving is One; that power is formless; it is something beyond our imagination. Let us find that light within us and spread its glow all around and then one day we will find Krishna, Jesus and Mohammed, Paigamber amongst us."

We are sure Ganpati would be pleased with the Pitales. After all, is there better form of worshipping the Elephant God than spreading the message of peace and harmony?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *