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Children to Become Hindu Priests to Overcome Shortage of Priests during Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai

More than 12,000 public Ganesh Chaturthi pujas are held during the annual Ganeshotsav (August – September) in Mumbai. There are also thousands of private pujas. To do all these pujas there are only around 3,500 priests. To overcome the shortage children are being trained to perform pujas during Ganesh Chaturthi.
BBC reports
The festival organisers have decided to train 700 young boys and girls this year so that more priests can be made available. 
Interestingly, many of the children taking the "crash course" in priesthood are girls. 
"I know there will be some hesitation [to hire us] in the beginning because we are so young and then we are girls. But once [the clients] know that we are as good as traditional priests, they will hire us," says a visibly excited 15-year-old Neha. 
And Manohar, also 15, says he has "stopped lying" ever since he began attending the classes.
"I am learning to be pious which would help me being accepted by those who need the services of a priest." 
Pandit Vishwanath, one of the trainers, is confident that his young charges will be ready to become priests. 
"They have been in training for over a month. They will have learnt all the scriptures in time to preside over the ceremonies," he says. 
The Ganesh Utsav is Mumbai's biggest festival
But will the people accept the teenage priests?
The organisers are confident they will.
"If the children learn the scriptures which are available in a condensed form and take their job seriously they will be accepted," says Ganesh Pandey, a veteran priest. 
The organisers plan to train more children every year to meet the rising demand for priests.