Despite redevelopment, chawls try to retain Ganeshotsav traditions | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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Despite redevelopment, chawls try to retain Ganeshotsav traditions

The Kamat chawls in Girgaum started their Ganeshotsav celebrations in 1896. The Kamat Chawl Ganeshotsav mandal’s celebrations complete 119 years, this festive season.

mumbai Updated: Sep 05, 2014 22:21 IST
Omkar Gokhale

With old chawls in the city going in for redevelopments, the Ganeshotsav mandals in these buildings are trying to keep up their decades-old tradition.

The Kamat chawls in Girgaum, which were hubs of nationalist activity during the freedom struggle, started their Ganeshotsav celebrations in 1896. The Kamat Chawl Ganeshotsav mandal’s celebrations complete 119 years, this festive season. Soon, the chawls will be pulled down and redeveloped. “The chawls will soon be demolished. However, we will keep the spirit of Ganeshotsav celebrations alive in Kamat chawls,” said Umesh Jadhav, a member.

Traditionally, the idol is kept in a permanent niche on the ground floor verandah in the one of the chawls. “We have told the developer to build a permanent place to keep the idol so that the tradition can be continued,” added Jadhav.

Vijaynagar Housing Society, comprising around 500 families, got a new look four years back. Although the chawl has been redeveloped, Vijaynagar-Chandrashekhar Ganeshotsav Mandal, Andheri, celebrates its golden jubilee this year. “Our lifestyle may have changed but our mandal has tried to keep the traditions alive through various programmes including kirtans,” said Sameer Khadilkar, secretary of the mandal.

However, with changing lifestyle, mandals are trying new methods to bring people to pandals. “We have formed a team which has been communicating to people through social media. We got an overwhelming response from the residents,” said Khadilkar.

Shastri Hall at Grant Road, which consists of six chawls and a 10-storey new building, is a perfect example of blend of chawl houses and apartments. The Shastri Hall Ganeshotsav, established in 1916, is going to start its centenary celebrations next year.

At Shastri Hall, programmes such as kirtans and plays are organised throughout 10 days of Ganeshotsav. “Even though our colony is a mixture of chawls and flats, we try to retain the enthusiasm through traditional programmes making it a true family celebration,” said Vinay Antarkar, president, Shastri Hall Ganeshotsav Mandal.