It is that time of the year, when Mumbaikars welcome the most revered Hindu God, Lord Ganesha, into their homes kick-starting a 10-day-long Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations.
While the significance of every festival changes with time, Anuj Sachdeva believes in sticking to the authenticity of every auspicious occasion. He shares,
“For the last two years owing to the pandemic, we have celebrated every festival behind closed doors with limited people. So, this time around, the spirit of Ganesha devotees is on an all-time high (smiles). All of us had been waiting for things to return to normalcy and here we are today. But I am going to stick to my original plan that I have been following for the past five years. I have been advocating a campaign called ‘Living Ganesha’. When we were ruled by the British, Ganesh Chaturthi celebration was planned for a specific reason. It was a way to connect with people, something that was not allowed back then. The celebrations reinstated our belief that having an unwavering faith leads you on the path of victory. However, the significance of the festival has changed over the years.”
“We shouldn’t invest in idols that aren’t eco-friendly. Such idols pollute the water during visarjan. I would urge everyone to bring home an environmentally-friendly Ganesha idol. Also, God understands your devotion better than anyone else. So, don’t give into peer pressure by buying large idols. Take stock of your requirements and decide accordingly. Bring home Vighnaharta but also make sure that you are not polluting the environment.”
The Woh Toh Hai Albelaa actor feels that amidst all the pomp and show, we are forgetting the true meaning of every festival. He points out,
“I have seen that many people after the Ganpati visarjan ritual come back home and devour non-vegetarian food making me feel that the celebrations were nothing but just a formality. We can’t lose the essence of this beautiful festival. Also, if we worship Lord Ganesha then how can we be cruel towards animals and especially, elephants? It pains me to see them being tortured for humans’ sake.”
Anuj Sachdeva believes in walking the talk and his work towards the cause of aging elephants is a step towards achieving his goal.
“I have associated with an NGO called Wildlife SOS in Mathura. Their volunteers take care of the aging and injured elephants in their sanctuary. I have been talking to my friends, who can raise money for these elephants. I am grateful to influential people like Ramesh Tauraniji (the owner of Tips), Juhi Chawla and a lot of celebrities who have been generous with their donations for these elephants every year. I also make time to visit the NGO in Mathura. Unfortunately, I couldn’t travel in the last two years becauseof the COVID-19 surge, but I am looking forward to traveling to Mathura and visiting them this time around.”
So, how does he plan to celebrate Ganesh Chaturthi this year?
“Just like I do it every year (smiles). Instead of getting Bappa home, I am raising money for an NGO that works towards the cause of aging and injured elephants. I believe in karma and I know that He will watch over me and shower me with good luck. I seek his guidance in achieving what I have set out for.”