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Dr. Ambedkar and Navratri : Shaping Maharashtra's Culture.



  Oct 11, 2023

History of Navratri in Maharashtra



What was the significance of Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar’s invite to the Ganesh utsav in 1927?

Ambedkar’s invitation to speak during Ganesh utsav at Dadar faced opposition from upper-caste Hindus due to his Dalit background. This exemplified the caste prejudices prevalent at the time.

How did Ganesh utsav become popular in Maharashtra?

Promoted by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak after the 1894-95 communal riots, Ganesh utsav gained immense popularity, replacing Muharram as the dominant festival.

How did Navratri emerge as a form of counter-culture to Ganesh utsav?

After caste tensions marred the Ganesh utsav, Ambedkar and non-Brahmin movement leaders like Prabodhankar Thackeray and Raobahadur Sitaram Keshav Bole initiated Navratri celebrations as a more inclusive alternative.

What was Prabodhankar Thackeray’s role in the Navratri celebrations?

Prabodhankar Thackeray, with others, introduced Navratri as a festival for the masses. It was aimed at uniting Hindus across castes, positioning Goddess Bhawani as Maharashtra’s central deity.

Why was Navratri chosen as an inclusive festival?

Navratri was seen as an opportunity to integrate Dalits and non-Brahmins in religious rites. It represented an egalitarian counter to the Brahmin-dominated Ganesh utsav.

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