The ‘sarvajanik ganeshotsava’ was initiated by Lokmanya Tilak with an agenda to bring the community closer; and today, over a century later, the dream keeps being realised year after year. The dhol pathaks of this city put up a display of unity, rhythm and devotion that bind the people of our society, and in doing so, fulfill the ultimate aim of the festival — an amalgamation of people from diverse background.
This year, with over 300 dhol pathaks are participating in the processions. dna found a few individuals whose presence in the pathak, bring an altogether new fervour to the fest.
First, we have Mrunmayee Dinanath Kulkarni, a 6-year-old girl, who is a standard I student at Renukaswaroop. The Renukaswaroop Prashala Pathak, was established 5 years ago, with the intention to give girls a chance to participate in the procession. With several students and alumni participating, the pathak has nearly 130 members. Mrunmayee, who plays the zaanz, is taking part in the proceedings for the first time. Confident as any other member, Mrunmayee says, “I am excited to participate in the procession. I had a lot of fun in the practice and I am enjoying playing with my friends. My elder sister and mother are also here with me.”
At the same time, we have Satish Govind Kulkarni, a 57-year-old MSEB employee and an alumni of Ramanbaug (’73 batch), who plays tasha for the Ramanbaug Prashala Dhol Pathak.
“I started playing when I was a child but then couldn’t participate owing to work. I joined the pathak five years ago as it gives me immense pride to represent my school. It gives me a sense of belonging, and playing alongside an enthusiastic bunch of youngsters makes me feel young,” he says.
Prasad Pardeshi of Rajmudra pathak, on the other hand, is a young boy in his twenties. Young and energetic, Pardeshi has tremendous regard to tradition. “The feeling of being a part of this gives me great pride. There is so much discipline in the performance and the way we conduct ourselves. We pray before and after practice and everything happens according to the set customs. It is a welcome change from our regular lifestyle,” he says.