Hindus worldwide are perturbed over Calgary (Alberta, Canada) reportedly denying permission to local Hindu community for immersing Hindu deity Lord Ganesha idol in the body of water at the conclusion of Ganesha Chaturthi celebrations.
Distinguished Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada today, said that it was heart-breaking for the hard-working, harmonious and peaceful North American Hindu community who had made lot of contributions to the nations and societies; to receive such signal of rejection in Calgary.
Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, urged Mayor Naheed Nenshi and City Manager David Duckworth of Calgary to offer formal apology to the local Hindu community and permit the traditional Lord Ganesha immersion in 2020. He also urged the intervention of Lieutenant Governor Lois E. Mitchell and Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta if Calgary continued to deny such religious festivities.
Rajan Zed pointed out that Lord Ganesha was highly revered in Hinduism and Ganesha Chaturthi celebrating his birthday concluded with immersion of his idols in a body of water like river, pond, lake, sea, etc.; which was an important annual Hindu tradition worldwide from many centuries.
Not being able to fulfil a long-standing key religious ritual in a country which boasted of guarantees of freedom of religion, belief, conscience, etc.; was really sad and upsetting for the community; Zed indicated.
Hindu community felt left out in this “most livable city in North America”. Calgary, whose tagline was “onward” and which claimed "making life better every day", should be more accepting of the traditions of its minorities and people with “other” belief systems; Rajan Zed stated.
Zed noted that Ganesha Visarjan was not a “recreational” event, as Calgary reportedly tended to think; it was a deeply held religious tradition. City of Calgary should collaborate with the community on it and the Hindu community would gladly create eco-friendly soluble clay idols causing no harm to the environment. Some other cities of Canada did reportedly permit this immersion in local bodies of water.
Ganesha Chaturthi, a popular festival celebrating Lord Ganesha's birthday, is held on the fourth day of the bright lunar fortnight in Bhadrapada/Prausthapada. The festival, which may last up to ten days, involves ritually immersing clay image of Lord Ganesha in the body of water to mark the conclusion of the celebrations. This year, Ganesha Chaturthi fell on September two and Ganesha Visarjan date was September 12.
In Hinduism, Lord Ganesha is worshipped as god of wisdom and remover of obstacles and is invoked before the beginning of any major undertaking.
Hinduism, oldest and third largest religion of the world, has about 1.1 billion adherents and moksh (liberation) is its ultimate goal.