As strange as it may sound, but it is true. And yes, welcome too.
We have always heard this many times over, and in the movie Oh My God, where Paresh Rawal mouths the dialogue - “Inke yaha recession main bhi income kam nahi hoti, balki badh thi hai kyu ki log daar ke maare aur jhanjat se bahar nikalne ke liye aur zyada daan denge” (For these people, income never dips even during recession but only increases as people get afraid and donate more to get out of financial difficulties).
On the first page of today’s Hindustan Times news paper is where I found the very title of this post. It was reported that there was a slight dip in this year’s income at city’s most famous mandal, Lalbaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal, who hosts Lord Ganesha for 10 days during the festival.
The income for 10/11 days during the festival for this Mandal was Rs. 8 Crore in 2012 and it fell to Rs. 6.77 crore this year. Donations in Gold also fell from 15 Kilograms to 11 Kilograms this year. On the contrary, the total number of devotees visiting this Pandal this year increased to 1.5 crore from 1.25 crore last year.
The main reason for this year’s fall in cash collection is the festival was one day short, with immersion taking place on 10th day instead of 11th day normally.
Of course there will be reasons stated for the fall in revenue as done in corporate. “The main reason for this year’s fall in cash collection is the festival was one day short, with immersion taking place on 10th day instead of 11th day normally. Gold quantity has possibly come down due to higher rates of the metal”. Interestingly, no one donated a Maruti 800 this year.
So finally, for once, Paresh Rawal’s dialogue will be wrong. But it is all the more welcome.
It is interesting to see why and how such Pandals keep track of Donations and Devotees attending them, and making the numbers public. Of course it is a matter of great pride for one of the most famous ever Ganeshotsav Pandals in Mumbai to make the highest income in donations. Almost all media will even report it for them, making their pride swell.
There are other prominent mandals in Mumbai like GSB Seva Mandal who improved their previous year’s performance slightly in cash collections but still got hit terms of total Gold collections.
The ground realities during the Ganeshotsav at Lalbaugcha Raja were shown recently on TV where the volunteers or karyakartas manhandling many devotees. Before you see the video, you should know that those people who were manhandled wait for more than 36 hours to just come close to the Altar or the Ganesh idol for Darshan. That will give you some prospective.
PS: Well before you all start at me for writing a critical post on such huge following and most lovable God in Mumbai, please understand that my views not shared to hurt your religious sentiments. I think of things in more logical and rational manner and this may differ from your thoughts. If you find such views disturbing, I will be happy if you avoid visiting this blog and reading such views. Thank you.