Days before the start of Ganeshotsav, it is common to see young men and women, carrying their dhols and drums and practising with their pathak or troupe. One such pathak comes from ‘Swa’-Roopwardhinee, an organisation that provides educational opportunities to children that come from economically weaker sections of society. “One of the main activities during Ganeshotsav is that of dhol tasha. We want to bring out unity and cultural significance of this festival through our performance,” says Dnyanesh Purandare, secretary of ‘Swa’-Roopwardhinee.
There are eight troupes in total that come from the various centres of the organisation that are spread across the city. Complying with the Supreme Court order to curb noise pollution, they too have kept the limit of up to 30 dhols and 10 tashas in each troupe. “We compose our own music. Every year, we come up with new taals or beats. We do not play film songs as they are not culturally relevant to the festival. A pathak is not the same thing as a band. We have to be different, otherwise there is no point. But, we make sure that our music is liked by people who can enjoy it during the festival,” states Purandare. The music will also be played in such a way that dancers from the pathak choreograph formations and dance with laziums.
Apart from this, volunteers from ‘Swa’-Roopwardhinee will also be present at water bodies to encourage people during the visarjan to immerse their idols in the water tanks that have been constructed by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).
The pathak from this organisation has also been playing in front of the Tulshibaug Ganapati temple procession during the visarjan since the last 30 years. They also play at the Shreemant Dagdusheth Halwai Temple at night. Each year, the pathak follows a particular theme. For this year’s celebrations, they have chosen the theme of equality since it is also Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar’s 125th birth anniversary. “We want to show how great a leader Dr Ambedkar was and how he is still relevant. On each day during the festival, once we’re done playing, we will have a street play that will narrate a story from Dr Ambedkar’s life. It will be around five to seven minutes long,” explains Nilesh Dhayarkar, the project coordinator of ‘Swa’-Roopwardhinee. The street plays will take place from 7 pm to 10 pm every night and will also cover various themes like national integration, importance of cleanliness and women empowerment.
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