Ganesh Chaturthi 2009 celebrations in Pune is hit by Swine Flu. To contain the spread of H1N1 virus popular Ganesh Pandals in Pune city are keeping a low profile and are planning to avoid processions and rituals that attract crowd. Historians say that Pune has faced similar situations in the past and the city then celebrated Ganesh festival in a simple manner. Punekars can never stay away from welcoming their most favorite deity – Ganesha – after all He is the remover of all obstacles.
According to history researcher Mandar Lawate, a 1944 book by Dhundiraj Dixit on ‘Ganesh festival in Pune’ mentions that the festival was never cancelled though the pandemic had often marred its preparations. “Punekars have never bowed down to any disaster when it came to celebrating Ganesh festival. In 1918 too, the festival was celebrated in a toned-down manner. Features like lecture series and Mele were cancelled, but mandals installed Ganesh idols and carried out the festival with simplicity.”
Even in 1897, when plague epidemic was at its peak in Pune, the festival did take place.