PUNE: As the rituals of Shri Ganesh Festival mandal in Hadapsar, Badshah Dalwai, trustee of a local mosque, is busy overseeing the preparations at the pandal. For the organizers of the festival, the event is inconceivable without Muslims in the area. “For us Ganeshotsav is not a Hindu festival, but a community event that we all participate in,” said Mohammad Ansari, a resident of the area.
Ansari and Dalwai have been participating in the festivities of Ganeshotsav since their childhood. Emphasizing the need for communal harmony, the residents of the area have taken to jointly celebrating several festivals of both faiths. They have even come up with their own traditions such as hoisting two massive flags – one in saffron and the other green – on Shiv Jayanti and Eid.
The evening entertainment organized during the ten-day festival is the main attraction for the residents. The same stage where spiritual discourses, Marathi theatre, music and dance competitions are held also witness a qawwali contest. “This has also become a tradition of sorts. For the past five years, a couple of days after the immersion, we organize a qawwali competition…it has become an annual feature of the festival”
Read more: Communal Harmony