Four Parsi families from Dahanu have been celebrating Ganesh festival at their home since the past five decades while one Parsi family are installing the Lord Ganesh idol at their home for the last 18 years, as they believe that the Ganesh Bappa makes everything possible for them and also are carrying forward the family tradition.
Khodadad Behram Irani (53), Shahrukh Firozbha Irani (48), Donesh Irani (45) and Percy Bharda (52) all residents of Dahanu and Gholvad have unflinching faith in the Lord of Wisdom and remover of all obstacles. The families of Khodadad, Shahrukh and Donesh have been installing the Ganesh idol in the house of Rajendra Joshi, their family friend since the past fifty years and more. Said Shahrukh, a prosperous litchi farmer from Bordi, my forefathers have been installing the Ganesh idol in the house of the father of Rajendra, even before I was born, and the fourth generation of our family are continuing the tradition by installing the idol in Rajenda's house. We still do not know from where the tradition began, but we are following the ancestral custom,said Khodadad, who runs a grinding mill in Dahanu, while Donesh, a baker from Dahanu, also follows the footstep. The family of Rajendra also celebrate the festival alongwith the other three idols at the Joshis' residence.As Parsis, we are sworn nonvegetarians,and if we had installed the idols at our residences, there are chances of not following the strict and piousity of the festival, so may be our ancestors had decided to install the idols at the Joshis' residence since the past decades, said Shahrukh. But during the entire Ganesh festival, we abstain from meat and liquor and perform aartis twice a day, at the residence of Rajendra by our respective families and chant "Morya re,Bappa Morya re" aloud with cheer,said Khodadad.It is a family get together of all our Parsis brothers and sisters at the residence of Joshi,he said,during Ganesh festival, as even our Parsi brothers abstain from eating meat during the festival, and offer prayers at our friend Joshi's house,he said.
All the idols are made of soil from our farms as we Parsis' are nature lovers, and no Plaster of Paris is used in the sculpting of the idols,said Percy, an electrical contractor from Dahanu. In fact, this year, we have installed the Tree Ganesha wherein the idol is made of red soil, organic fertilizer, natural colour and seeds, and this unique idol is designed to grow into a tree after immersion, said Percy.This is our bit to save the environment and thus we brought home an idol of Tree Ganesha,he said, who has been celebrating Ganesh festival since 2000. Over the years, my faith in Lord Ganesh has grown stronger since many of our wishes have got fulfilled,said a teary eyed Percy. I perform three poojas, first on the day the Ganesha idol was installed, next the twice a day aartis, and the last one,when bidding farewell to the Bappa,said Percy. The Lord has blessed me and my family, whether it is a family matter, personal or career growth,he said We will celebrate Ganpati as long as we can, and the baton will be handed over to the next generation of our family, he said. It took a months' time to decorate the entire room,said Shahrukh and we played Ganpati aartis on the music system through the entire day and the house is decorated with lights.
The Parsis have settled in Dahanu, Tarapur, Palghar, Bordi, Gholwad and other surrounding areas since the past 400 years and took to chikoo farming, as they are strong nature lovers, and also gelled with the non Parsi community i.e. Maharashtrians and some Parsis have spouses from Maharashtrian and Gujarati households and thus have embibed the culture of the land.