Mumbai, Sept 05: In the heart of the very Christian I.C Colony in Borivali, the wandering passerby stumbles upon a medium-sized pandal dedicated to Lord Ganesha. Situated on one-half of the road, yet fairly spacious, the 4-ft Ganpati gives off a distinct aura of its own: It is the biggest and only Ganpati in I.C Colony, named after the Immaculate Conception of Mary, beloved as the Mother of God to hundreds of thousands of Catholics in the city.
The I.C Colony Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal at Holy Cross Road is the only Ganpati Mandal in I.C Colony. Started around 31 years ago, the Mandal was formed at the request of the Hindu residents of I.C Colony, which is a largely Christian-dominated community.
A group of enthusiastic I.C youngsters took up the challenge and formed the I.C Colony Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav Mandal. However, as President Harish Suvarna stated, all the residents of I.C Colony—whether they are Hindu, Muslim, or Christian—come together for the donation, organization, and celebration of Ganeshotsav. “It is more of a multicultural event,” Harish Suvarna said. “The Mandal organizes Janmashtami, Holi, and Christmas festival celebrations too.”
Over the years, the Mandal has evolved into a small community, with over 50 families coming together to plan the events for the 5-day Ganpati, which receives an attendance of over 1,000 people each year.
Before the pandemic, the Mandal used to bring in an idol of around 8-9 feet, but post-pandemic the size has been reduced to 4-ft. Suvarna stated that the size was reduced because of environmental concerns.
During the pandemic, people were restricted from moving out and visiting pandals, but the Mandal brought the Ganpati faithfully. After 5 days, the idol is taken round the whole of I.C Colony, then the Visarjan takes place at the Eksar Talav.
The Mandal also operates as a cultural community, organizing sports programmes, athletics events, and other affairs. It is a reflection of the changing and cosmopolitan nature of I.C Colony, which has a circular monument at the junction of its famous road, Holy Cross Road, with the symbols of all major religions inscribed on it: “We all live in I.C, we all live in harmony.”