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A person visiting Mumbai in the month of September can easily notice a mild fragrance lingering in the air. The fragrance is none other than that of the hibiscus flower. The hibiscus flower, commonly known as the shoo flower is believed to be the favourite flower of Lord Ganesha. In the month of September, every Mumbaikar is deeply immersed in Ganeshotsav. Some start preparing for the next Ganeshotsav as soon as the current one ends.
Before the festival of Ganeshotsav, or Ganesh Chaturthi, became an Indian cultural phenomenon, one can trace it's origins to Maharashtra. Ganesh Chaturthi as a festival has been historically observed in the province of Pune. Pune (also known as Poona) is dubbed the educational hub of Maharashtra. Historians see Pune as the last bastion of the Marathi manoos.
Ever since the era wherein Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, the founder of the Maratha Empire, ruled over most of western India, Lord Ganesh was seen as the family god or Kuldevata. With the unfortunate demise of the Maratha empire in the early 19th century, the festival lost its state patronage and became a private family celebration in Maharashtra. It regained its limelight when the extremist Indian freedom fighter and social reformer Lokmanya Tilak reignited its long distinguished flame.
Crowds throng in at a junction to catch a glimpse of the Ganesha idol before its immersion. Photo by Vishal Panchal on Usplash.
Ganesh Chaturthi in its current form was introduced in 1892 when a Pune resident named Krishnajipant Khasgiwale visited Maratha-ruled Gwalior, where he witnessed the traditional public celebration and brought it to the attention of his friends, Bhausaheb Laxman Javale and Balasaheb Natu back home in Pune. Javale, who was also known as Bhau Rangari installed the first sarvajanik or public Ganesha idol following this.
Lokmanya Tilak praised Javale's efforts in an article in his fiery newspaper Kesari in 1893 and even installed a Ganesha idol in the news publication's office the next year, and his efforts transformed the annual domestic festival into a large, well-organised public event. Tilak was the first to install large public images of Ganesha in pavilions and established the practice of submerging the idols in rivers, the sea or other bodies of water on the tenth day of the festival.
Encouraged by him, Ganesh Chaturthi or Ganeshotsav, became a meeting ground for people from all castes and communities at a time when the British discouraged social and political gatherings to control the population. The festival facilitated community participation and involvement in the forms of intellectual discourse, poetry recitals, plays, concerts, and folk dances.
Various Ganpati idols for sale at a workshop in Mumbai. Photo by Mohnish Landge on Unsplash.
Tilak recognized Ganesha's appeal as "the god for everybody". He popularised Ganesh Chaturthi as a national festival to "bridge the gap between Brahmins and the non-brahmins and also to find a context on which to build a new grassroots unity between them. The festival was successful in generating nationalistic fervour in the Maharashtrian people to oppose the oppressive British rule.
With the advent of the third wave of Covid-19 in Maharashtra, government officials have started ringing alarm bells. The fear that the ongoing surge in new cases might be fuelled by the lesser-known Delta Plus variant is high among healthcare staff. Ganesh Chaturthi and the Third Wave of the pandemic are in sync, leading to a catch 22 situation for Mumbaikars.
Keywords: Ganesh Chaturthi, Maharashtra, Third Wave, Marathas. September
Clean beauty products are making inroads and have gained a significant share of the beauty market, with more more people becoming aware of the their benefits. With each passing year thanks to technology, research and development natural ingredients have finally regained their place in the spotlight. Don't take our word for it, beauty icons Kriti Sanon and Shanaya Kapoor also believe in natural and clean beauty products, and associate with the 'Naturali' range launched by RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group. The new age nature-inspired personal care brand aims to provide a one-of-a kind experience to their customer infused with trendy natural ingredients delivering quick visible results.
Hair care ambassador Kriti Sanon said, 'I am extremely thrilled to be associating with Naturali haircare range that is infused with modern, trendy natural ingredients which are free from harmful chemicals. I have always been an ardent supporter of the 'no nasties' proposition when it comes to my hair care needs, hence this association came very naturally to me. Everyone knows that natural products are supposed to be good for you, but they are often believed to be slow in giving results. Naturali changes this, as the range has a unique SuperBlend of complementary natural ingredients, that are optimized to give you quick visible results. As a woman myself, I strongly believe that no woman should ever have to compromise especially with respect to her beauty choices. So, it is extremely fulfilling to see a brand that is not only good for you being free from harmful chemicals but also makes you look good.'
Clean beauty products are making inroads and have gained a significant share of the beauty market, with more more people becoming aware of the their benefits. | Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash
Bollywood debutante and skincare ambassador Shanaya Kapoor said, 'It is exhilarating to be associated with Naturali Skincare range. It's a brand that I feel complements my personality and I'm sure, just like me, a lot of young women are going to instantly connect with it. It's trendy, unapologetic, true to its claims, and most importantly takes charge. What resonated with me the most was the fresh take Naturali offers on nature-based skincare, the exciting ingredients - Avocado, Tea Tree, Red Raspberry coupled with the free from harmful chemicals promise. As someone who's had to deal with her fair share of skin problems like pimples while growing up, I am certain this range is going to be very useful for girls out there and I can't wait for them to try it out!'
Shashwat Goenka, Sector Head, Retail & FMCG said, 'There has been a paradigm shift in how Indian consumers, especially the younger, more conscious generation, engage with beauty products today. They are looking for a holistic and transparent approach towards beauty and wellness that is result-oriented. However, despite there being a burgeoning rise in the demand for natural beauty products, the personal care 'free from nasties' segment is still underpenetrated in terms of mass, affordable players. And that's where we come in - Naturali, a personal care brand infused with natural ingredients that are efficacious and free from harmful chemicals. The range is also available at pocket-friendly price points to the masses, a first for the segment."
He further added, 'We are very glad to announce Kriti Sanon as the face of the Naturali haircare range while Shanaya Kapoor represents the skincare offerings. We are a new, bold, and trendy brand and we wanted to associate with individuals who could help bring out and advocate these values. Kriti and Shanaya are a perfect choice as both are young, vivacious, and personally, resonates with our natural first proposition.'
The brand is backed by a SuperBlend technology that offers a combination of two modern, efficacious, natural ingredients like Avocado and Charcoal, Moringa and Avocado, Red Onion and Bhringaraj, Tea Tree & Avocado amongst others.
(Article originally published by: N. Lothungbeni) (IANS/ MBI)
Keywords: Beauty, skincare, Kriti Sanon, Shanaya Kapoor, clean beauty
Children are often seen running around singing "London Bridge is Falling", and making a face of sadness when they reach the last line. Most people assume that the Fair Lady referred to in the rhyme is the Queen of England, and the current queen at that. But the history behind this rhyme goes farther back in time than we realize.
Speculation associated with this rhyme has to do with a process call immurement. Immurement was when a person was enclosed in a room with no exit points. This was more an act of superstition than punishment. It was believed to bring sturdiness to the structure if people were imprisoned behind the walls. London Bridge falling down was something that people at the time associated with weakness. But there is no evidence to substantiate the idea of immurement.
The Bridge of yesteryear London Image source: wikimedia commons
A more historical account states that the bridge fell as a result of a Viking attack. Vikings of Norway have a similar set of rhymes that associate their role in bringing down the Bridge of London. They sing of conquest and gold, and blessings from Odin, in Norse, which refers to the Bridge. King Olaf II is credited with this feat.
Most historians, unable to properly supply evidence of the above claims, state that perhaps the Thames River is the reason this rhyme came into existence. The original London Bridge had 19 arches that went deep into the river. This caused difficulty in navigation. The Bridge was taken down and reconstructed to accommodate boats and ships. Perhaps, it was this historical reconstruction that is being sung about. The London Bridge is the only one that directly refers to a historical event, and yet has no plausible evidence to support it.
Keywords: Rhymes, London, Bridge, History, Viking, Immurement
Atop the Vindhyagiri hills in Karnataka, a 57-foot-tall statue stands. This is the statue of Lord Gomateshwara, or Bahubali, as he is known to the local patrons. The surrounding area is filled with temples where each of the many Jain Tirthankaras sits.
Sharavanabelagola is named after a pond that is located at the foothills. 'Bel' in Kannada means white, and 'kola' means pond. This is a sacred water body to the activities of the temples. It is a tourist attraction and a pilgrim destination located 85 kilometres from Mysore, and 145 kilometres from the capital, Bangalore.
The pond that Sharavanabelagola is named after Image source: wikimedia commons
Since the statue is placed at such a great height, pilgrims are made to make a journey to the top of the hill by foot. They are required to climb the stone steps barefoot as an act of piety and devotion. Palanquins are offered only to senior citizens who wish to worship at the temple.
In 3 B.C, when India was ruled by the Mauryan Dynasty, Chandragupta Maurya became a Jain monk and took up residence in the Chandragiri and Vindhyagiri hills. He is supposedly responsible for the establishment of the temple complex at Shravanabelagola, where he lived till he died. Later on, his grandson, Ashoka made some additional changes to the place.
A shop in the tourist section that sells handmade items Image source: wikimedia commons
Every twelve years, a Mahamastabhisheka is conducted, and Jains from every part congregate to witness it. The statue is washed with water, rice flour, sugarcane juice, saffrom, sandalwood paste, gold, and silver flowers, curd, ghee, milk, and turmeric, and all the monks offer special prayers. The surrounding temples and rocks are preserved as archaeological wonders owing to the 800 edicts and inscriptions found here which span 600 to 1830.
Keywords: Shravanabelagola, Jainism, Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka, Karnataka