The 10-day Ganesh celebration, a Hindu tradition celebrated with special fervour in Maharashtra, will begin from tomorrow 22 August. With the coronavirus pandemic however to retreat and Mumbai still battling against spiking cases and fatalities, the preparation for Lord Ganesh’s arrival this year has got a new ‘enemy’ – COVID-19.

Because of this, Ganpati Bappa will be seen this year by devotees on Zoom, Facebook, and other online platforms amid Ganesh Chaturthi celebration held this year in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The 10-day celebration, which begins on Saturday, has been cut short to one-and-a-half days at many places in Delhi. Organisers of Ganesh Chaturthi are active making social media links for virtual darshans and ensuring health protocol for those who will be at the mandals.

Gurgaon-based Sarvajanik Ganeshotsava Samiti, in its 28th year, will also have online celebrations. Jeevan Talegaonkar from the organising committee said that there will be no physical darshan, everything will be online. “We are not even revealing the place where the sthapana of Ganesh will take place.” “This year we have decided not to raise funds from people or invite sponsorships. We are pooling in money just for a household function. Zoom has an option to link with Facebook and we will use that.”

Pramod Kolapte, liason officer, Maharashtra Sadan said that at Maharashtra Sadan, Ganpati Bappa will remain for five days and there will be no parade or any function this year. The idol will be small and there will be as it were morning and evening aarti. The number of guests will be entirely restricted and temperature will be checked with thermal guns at the entry.

As we all are facing the disturbing crisis of COVID-19 pandemic, Ganesh festival preparations will take place of a different kind. Organisors of different mandals are setting up online darshans and enforces social distancing and also coordinating with hospitals and ambulance services in case anyone involved in Ganesh festival preparations contracts Covid-19.

Mumbai has been one of India’s COVID hotspots with total cases of 2,91,000 cases, each day Mumbai has been including almost 70,000 new cases to its count. Quieted okay, but coordinators of Ganesh pandals say they are making it a point to celebrate the celebration this year.

Naresh Dahibhavkar, president of the Brihanmumbai Sarvajanik Ganesh Utsav Samanvay Samiti, a government-recognized committee that coordinates between Ganesh mandals, civic authorities and the local police said that there are rules for social distancing that won’t make the celebration feel the same as each year but more imperatively in the past few months, the cynicism among individuals has expanded. There’s no will to do anything celebratory. That’s the main difference this year.

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He also added that there’s a certain depression that ready to see in society and there’s no will to do anything celebratory. That’s one of the most reasons why we have been demanding on celebrating the festival this year.