Article by Apoorva Chugh
Photo from facebook.com/TanChengBock
Do you remember what was going on close to the school 17th September? Probably not, but you should remember the time when you saw thousands of people lined up in the temple right in front of our school. Why were they there? Was it for the free food? Was it to pray? Maybe, maybe not. They were all at the Sri Ruthra Kaliamman Temple to celebrate the Hindu Festival – Ganesh Chaturthi. They were all there honoring the birth of Lord Ganesh, one of the 330 million Hindu gods.
Lord Ganesh is an elephant god, who is the most worshipped god amongst the Hindus. He has an elephant head but the body of a human. There are many theories and stories stating why he has a body like that.
Legend says that Ganesh’s Mother, Parvati, created Ganesh with sandalwood. She ordered him to guard the gate and not allow anyone to come inside. Following his mother’s orders, he didn’t even allow Parvati’s husband, Shiva, inside. Lord Shiva got furious and ordered Ganesh’s head to be cut off. When Parvati got to know about this- she was furious! She got so angry that she decided to end all creation. Lord Brahma – the god of the gods got worried and asked Parvati to not make such a quick decision. Parvati agreed but asked for two conditions – 1) that Ganesh should be able to come back to life, and 2) that Ganesh should be prayed to before every god. Lord Brahma immediately agreed and as promised, Shiva brought Ganesh back to life…
As Brahma returned with an elephant’s head, holding the might of its previous strong and powerful body, Shiva attached it to the body of Ganesh.This gave Ganesh new life, and as the elder son of Shiva, he became chief of Shiva’s army.
Indians celebrate this festival by playing with powdered colours. They eat lots of sweets and at the end of the festivities they continue towards the Ganesh visarjan, where they let a statue of Lord Ganesh into the river and bid him goodbye. At least a dozen of ISS students are Hindus. But let us find out how many students at ISS actually know about this celebration: