Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Goud Saraswat Brahmins


Goud (also written as Gowd or Gowda or Gaud) Saraswat Brahmins(Konkani:गौड़ सारस्वत,Kannada:ಗೌಡ ಸಾರಸ್ವತ್,Malayalam:ഗൌഡ് സാരസ്വത്) are primarily a Konkani speaking Hindu Brahmin community in India and a part of the larger Saraswat Brahmin community. They are popularly referred to as GSBs.

The meaning of the word 'Saraswat' has more than one origin. One refers to 'offspring of Saraswati'[citation needed] , the Goddess of learning applied usually to learned and scholarly people. It may also denote the residents of Saraswati river basin. The brahmins of this region who are referred to as 'Saraswats' in Mahabharata and Puranas were learned in Vedic lore[citation needed] . They concentrated on studying subjects like astronomy, metaphysics, medicine and allied subjects and disseminating knowledge[citation needed] .

Due to geo-morphosis in the Himalayas, the Saraswati began to dry up and the Saraswats were forced to migrate to greener pastures. Some went to Kashmir in the north, others went eastwards. Few made their way to the Konkan and Goa. These came to be recognized as Goud Saraswats or Dakshinatya Saraswats, to distinguish them from other Saraswat groups of North.
Lord Parshurama with Saraswati brahmin settlers commanding Lord Varuna to make the seas recede to make the Konkan .

The new immigrants were called 'Goud' because they were followers of Monism or Advaita as preached by Goudapadacharya, who was guru of Govinda Bhagavatpada whose direct disciple was the great Shankaracharya, who resurrected Hinduism or Vedic religion in India. The first math of Saraswats dedicated to the memory of Goudapadacharya was established in Kaivalyapura or Kavale in Goa in the 8th century A.D. To this day, the swamis of Kavale math are known as Goudapadacharyas. Kavale Math is Goud Saraswat Community's Adimath (first math) and three main sub-sects of Dakshinatya Saraswats, viz., Sashtikar (Dorke including Bardeshkars), Shenvis (Karbharis), and Chitrapur Saraswats (Bhanaps) were all known as Goud Saraswats or Konkani Brahmins till three-hundred years ago. Other Saraswat subsects include Kudladeskars, Pednekars, Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins and Balavalikars.

In the 13th century, Dwaita (Vaishnava) philosophy advocated by Madhvacharya became popular and many Saraswats adopted vaishnavism. They continued to worship the deities they brought with them from the North. These were 'Mahan Girish' or Mangueshi, Shakti or Shanta durga, Vishnu, Ganesh and Surya. They form the 'Panchayatan' or five deities, sacred to all Saraswats.

Goud Saraswats were in all the kingdoms of the western coast under different dynasties right from 6th century A.D. Kadamba, Rashtrakuta, Hoysala, Chalukya Shilahara and Vijayanagara kings had given important posts to Saraswats. There were admirals, treasurers, ambassadors, army chiefs and foreign language-interpreters among them. They were famous traders, who conducted maritime trade with Eastern and Western countries of the contemporary world. The spoken language of Saraswats is Konkani.

The Portuguese traders followed by Christian missionaries. Forcible conversions began to take place under the patronage of Portuguese government in 1560 A.D. Most of the Saraswat families left Goa with their family deities, risking life and limb. They settled down in the adjoining Hindu principalities. New temples came up in the coastal districts of Karnataka for Saraswat deities. When conditions improved in Goa and forcible conversions stopped, the idols were taken back to newly constructed temples in Goa. They are not in the original ancient spots, where churches were built, destroying earlier temples. Many people migrated to Kerala and built temples mainly dedicated to Vishnu and his different avatars. Kashi Math at Kochi came up in 1560 A.D. and at Bhatkal in 1540 A.D. This was shifted to Gokarn hence known as Gokarn Jeevottama Partakali Math to include the name of famous Saint-Pontiff by the name Jeevottam of the Math stationed at Partakal or Partakali, Goa. Finally, this Math was established at Canacona in Goa. All the Vaishnav Saraswats are Kulavis (followers) of either Kashi Math or Gokarn Math. 'Smarth' Saraswats owe allegiance to either Kavale Math or Chitrapur Math.

Saraswats continued to hold important posts under Keladi or Nagar rulers. Many families who emigrated from Goa settled down in smaller towns and villages in Shimoga, South and North Kanara Districts. Saraswats were the first beneficiaries of English education introduced in 1840 A.D

Total population
300,000 (approx)
Regions with significant populations
Primary populations in:

* Goa
* Maharashtra
* Karnataka
* Kerala

Populations in:

* United Kingdom
* United States
* Arab States


Konkani, Marathi,Kannada,Malayalam


* Divisions based on Veda
o Rigvedi
* Divisions based on sect
o Smartha
o Madhwa

Related ethnic groups

* Kudaldeshkar Gaud Brahman
* Daivajna
* Padye
* Bhatt Prabhu
* Chitpavan

GSB Ganesha King Circle 2009

Thanks to Dr BU Pai I start a new series at Flickr.com a series ,very close to my heart the GSB Ganpati King Circle 2009..I have been continuously shooting it since a few years now.

GSB means Gaud Sarawswat Brahmin..one of the finest peace loving community settled in Mumbai from the South, their humility , their love for Lord Ganesha touches every one including this barefeet Muslim blogger from Mumbai..

The GSB community , everyone men women and children leave no stone unturned to make this event a great spiritual success...everybody is doing some community service, as volunteers , feeding the crowds , keeping vigilance in such trying times ,the men dressed in lungis bared bodied move about serving the devotees of Lord Ganesha.. The King of King of King Circle..

I copy lines from their old brochure ...

"Dear Fellow devotee,
It is with great pleasure we inform you about the 55 th Shree Gaaneshotsav Celeberations of our GSB Seva Mandal which will be celebrated at Sri Sukriteendra Nagar , A Rama Nayak Halll grounds behind SNDT Womens college R A Kidwai marg Kings Circle Mumbai 19. from 23 th Aug,2009 till 27 th Aug 2009.
We also have the proud privilege to state that the Shree Ganeshotsav is celebrated by us with unique spiritual and religious focus to insure that all the offerings made to Lord Ganesha reach him in the purity of thoughts and action.
The five days celebration of Seva Mandal is one where all volunteers whole heartedly work day and night right from collection of donations to service towards the Lordand also his devotees thronging the Pandal to pay obeisance to the Lord.The Shrama Daan of our volunteers is truly worth watching at the venue.
The Lords idol stands majestically at height of 17 feet studded with gold ornaments and a beautiful gold crown.When the celebrations were first initiated by Seva Mandal , the Lords idol was 14 inches, .
It exemplifies the stature and glory of our Lord who is also known to fulfil wishes of his ardent devotees. Seva Mandal feels itself fortunate to be blessed by our Dharma Guru His HolinessSudhindra Titha Swamiji , The Mathadipati of Shri Kashi Math Samasthan without which these celebrations could not have scaled to such great heights…
May Lord Ganesha inspire and bless us all."

As Dr BU Pai was at work, he called me this morning to shoot the Lord and a unique ritual called Tolabar where a person is weighed on a scale and his weight equivalent to his offerings , coconuts ladoos, prasadam is presented to Lord Ganesha.

Photography is strictly prohibited , but thanks to the community and the GSB management I am allowed to shoot the Lord that he touches all of you on cyberspace, and these are over 800 pictures shot in a few hours.

Mr Dinesh Pai , Mr Dilip Pai the head honchos, and other volunteers helped me , and were hospitable in all aspects , today was my third fast of Ramzan, and nothing could tire me when it comes to sharing the bounty of Lord Ganesha not just as a religiosity but as my cultural inheritance.. thus continues my mission of Hope and Hindutva as a message of Peace.

As you are aware I shot Lal Bagh Cha Raja on the day of my first fast Aug 23 2009..and his first day in royal court at Lalbagh..

I completed uploading all this at Flickr today.

A incident took place this morning at the GSB GaneshaPandal which made me cry , I need to share it with all of you, while I was shooting the Lord a youth came to me and thanked me I had never met him before ,so I was quite surprised , he explained to me that due to unavoidable reasons he could not partake in the celebrations of his favorite Lard , last year .
Than he found my GSB pictures on Flickr.com , and attained his spiritual happiness and made his darshan too, , on hearing this I began to cry..

Photography is an instrument of Peace and as a Photo Blog it becomes a means to holistically heal the human soul..

I dedicate this to Hari Shenoy from Bhandup the youth whose eyes went moist seeing me cry, , he gave me a reason to heal myself too..and what is a Hindu or a Muslim ,if he is not touched by the love of humanity..We believe in God so we can believe in ourselves , I too gain a spiritual high as I shoot spirituality where a divinity comes in the form of clay to remind us of our own mortality , he touches and binds us all and than goes away to return again the following year..

Ganesha festival is about our nationality - making us good Indians irrespective of our caste color or creed .

Thank You Lord..

Om Parvati Putaaye, Hara Hara Hara Mahadev
Gajaananam Bhoota Ganaadhi Sevitam
Kapitta Jamboophaala Saara Bhakshitam
Umaasutam Shoka Vinaasha Kaaranam
Namaami Vighneswara Paada Pankajam

Thank you Dr BU Pai
Thank you Mr Dinesh Pai
Thank you Dilip Pai

Above all thank you GSB community.

In.Com You Have No Right to Download My Pictures


I am shocked to see this site displaying my pictures without my permission..and blatantly asking their members to download my pictures ..they have breached Flickr spaceball too..

All images on this site are the exclusive property of Firoze Shakir and are protected under Indian and international copyright laws No text or image may be reproduced copied stored, manipulated or used whole or in part without the written permission of Firoze Shakir,


Paying Homage to Lalbagh Cha Raja

At The Golden Feet of Lalbagh Cha Raja

In The Royal Court of Lalbagh Cha Raja

Wired and Shooting the Soul of Spirituality

Shooting From the Press Enclosure

90,240 items / 546,887 views

I was trying to get myself on the main stage ,but the swarm of crowd pushed me here , I climbed a narrow stairway to reach the Press Enclosure that was dominated by the Media Moghuls..there was no space at all , I got a few earlier shots but after that it was not possible..

But this view I have never captured ever since I began shooting the Lal Bagh Cha Raja ..the ambiance the euphoria of faith is awesome.. this is truly an unforgettable moment of pilgrimage ..

Today is my third fast of Ramzan, this is my last lot of the series , about 144 pictures ..

I had to shoot the Lalbagh Cha Raja..through the heart and soul of a Muslim blogger ...It was not easy, the first day of the Raja was the first day of my fast for Ramzan..

I had a spiritual stamina ,I was endowed and empowered by a superior strength, I was barefeet in this feet stamping unstoppable exercise...

I shot with two lenses 17/70 digital and the Nikon 80/200 2.8 ED AF .. and a defective Nikon D80 to boot..

Raju Langewal and Me

90,190 items / 546,751 views

I know Raju Bhai since three years without his cooperation I would have not been able to shoot these pictures or those that I shot last year too..He is the erstwhile treasurer of the Pandal.

The Magic of Lalbagh Cha Raja

89,940 items / 544,895 views

Geographical Location: Central Mumbai

“LALBAUGCHA RAJA (The Emperor of Lalbaug)” is name of the popular Ganesh Idol of “LALBAUGCHA RAJA SARVAJANIK GANESHOTSAV MANDAL”. The Mandal, formerly known as “SARVAJANIK GANESHOTSAV MANDAL LALBAUG” was founded in the year 1934, because of a vow (NAVAS) for construction of the present Lalbaug Market at its existing place. The market place at Peru Chawl was shut down in 1932. Hence, the fishermen and vendors who used to sit in the open place vowed to Lord Ganesh for permanent place for their market. With the consistent efforts & support of the then local Councillor-Late Shri. Kuwarji Jethabhai Shah, Dr. V. B. Korgaonkar, Shri.Nakhawa Kokam Mama, Bhausaheb Shinde, Dr.U.A. Rao and the local residents, the landlord Rajabai Tayyabali agreed to give a plot for construction of a market. As fulfillment of their wish, the fisherman and the traders established the Ganesh Idol on 12.09.1934. The idol was dressed in the customary fashion of fisherman. Since that day onwards, this Lord Ganesh has become popular as it fulfills the wishes of devotees. The Mandal was formed in the era when the freedom struggle was at its peak.

Due to the communal riots in 1946, orders were issued to change the route of this Ganesh Immersion Procession. But, the then office-bearers of the Mandal refused to change the route and, after 21 days, the procession was taken by the same route under the supervision of then Volunteers Pandurang alias Babu Sayle, M.S.Pawar and Dattaram Joshi. After independence, the agenda of the Mandal was modified and accordingly the Mandal decided to contribute in uplift of the Country. The Mandal donated its balance amount to the Kasturba Fund, the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Fund in 1947 and to Bihar Flood Relief Fund in 1959. The social issues were also highlighted in the plots during Ganesh Festival.

During Silver Jubilee Year 1958, two different plots viz. “GEETA UPDESH” and “KALIYA MARDAN” were set for 5 days each. In this Silver Jubilee year, eminent speakers - like M.L.Patil-Hon’ble Minister of Bombay State, Hon’ble Ganapatrao Tapase, Hon’ble Govindrao Adik, Hon’ble Maloji Nimbalkar, Municipal Corporator Dr.Narvane, Govinrao Mahashbde-Dy.Editor Navakaal, Vasantrao Kate, Govardhandas Mapara of Kamgar Seva Sadan, Kakasaheb Tambe, - delivered speeches.

After 1958, the number of devotees of Lalbaugcha Raja increased substantially. Hence, in 1960, the entertainment programmes and speeches were discontinued. In the same year, “Navaratri Utsav” was started and the programmes were organized during Navaratri Festival. These transitions were carefully and neatly carried out by Chandrakant Khadye, Chunilal Rathod, Pranjivan Mehta and Shankar More. During this period, Late Shri. Shamraom V. Bodhe handed over the Hanuman Temple to the Mandal.

During 1948 to 1968, the Mandal started some new traditions like “Shri Satyanarayan Mahapooja”, “Pan-supari Samarambha (Get Together Function)”. The Get Together Function is the ceremony of felicitation by offering roll of betel leaf with betel nuts, known as Pan-Supari in Marathi. During this get together, eminent personalities of different fields, office bearers of various mandals and well-wishers are invited. This creates a friendly atmosphere for co-ordination & exchange of views for better performance of the festival and helps in improving relation among various mandals. In this manner, the mandal established a warm relationship with some mandals of Kumbharwada, Durgadevi Duncan Road, Kamathipura, Khetwadi, Navi Amrutwadi, etc. The participation of local mandals at night, was started to control heavy number of devotees.

During 1934 to 1968, Kunwarji J. Shah, Dr.V.B. Korgaonkar, H.B. Korgaonkar, Dr. U.A. Rao, Dr. Manju Madar, Ramchandra Tawate, B.D. Bandekar, Raghunath Khamkar, Pranjeevan Mehta, Rambali Halwai, Ram Jadhav were mainly responsible for development of the Mandal. The amount accumulated from the Mandal activities was mainly used for development of the nation. Mandal did its bit by contributing to the National Fund during floods at Bihar in 1959 and during the wars in 1962 &1965.

In 1969, new generation came up with wide view under the leadership of Late Shri Vasantrao Bhosale. Space requirement arose due to great extent of workload of the Mandal. In 1970, renovation of the Hanuman Temple was proposed. Accordingly, the renovation work was commenced in 1971 and completed in 1973, along with a new office for the Mandal. In 1975, Idol of Amba Mata (Goddess Amba) was established in the temple and the religious duties of Navratri festival were carried out in the temple, thereafter.

Since 1976, a part of the balance amount of the Mandal was deposited as “SHIKSHAN IMARAT NIDHI”.

During the Golden Jubilee Year in 1983, an exhibition was arranged in which plots of last 49 years were displayed. This exhibition was an attraction for the devotees. In the get together function of this Golden Jubilee Year, the ex-office bearers were felicitated with momentous.

During the decade 1984 to 1993, the Mandal carried out many other constructive social works. In 1990, the Mandal contributed Rs.15,000/- towards “Konkan Flood Relief Fund”, established by the Express Group for the flood affected people of Jambhulpada, based in Konkan, Maharashtra.

It is the first mandal who contributed Rs.1 Lac to the “Army Central Welfare Fund”, in 1999 for the families of the soldiers who scarified their lives to uphold the dignity of the Nation at Kargil and the same was handed over to then Governor of Maharashtra State, Dr. P.C. Alexander.

During this computer age, Mandal launched its website www.lalbaugcharaja.com in 2000. Hon’ble member of the Mandal Shri Bharat Bhujbal conceived with the idea and took efforts to fulfill it. The information related to the festival, the social activities of the Mandal and photo gallery of Lalbaugcha Raja is available on the website. This is very useful for the devotees located in various parts of world.

VISARJAN TARAFA: Traditionally the Ganesh idols are immersed in water during its VISARJAN. Hence in order to immerse the idol of Lalbaugcha Raja, Mandal always takes proper precautions so that the visarjan takes place in a manner the Raja deserves. Accordingly, after consulting some experts & experienced persons, Mandal has purchased a TARAFA (Iron Raft) which makes it possible to dissolve the idol of Lalbaugcha Raja in deep sea water, conveniently. The TARAFA is prepared by M/s. A.V. Engineering.

The small plant ploughed by old, wise members of the Mandal has been converted into a large tree. Now it is looked after by the new generation members by their dedicated work. This will definitely continue forever, with blessings of Lalbaugcha Raja.

In the year 2009, Mandal expecting around 10mn people to visit This "Great Raja".

Population: Prominently Marathi speaking with a smattering of Gujarati and North Indian.

Lalbaugcha Raja for fulfilling the Wishes(Navashacha).It was started by Koli women(Fisher woman of Lalbaug).


Lalbagh Cha Raja 2009

Lalbagh Cha Raja - A Tryst With Destiny

90,129 items / 546,461 views

she is satisfied
here on earth
lal bagh cha raja
face to face
by her side
her feelings
from mere mortals
she wishes to hide
her passion
her devotion
her maternal pride
by his magical touch
she silently cried
shri ashtavinayaka
shri siddhi vinayaka
her mentor her guide
in good times
in bad times
he will provide

"Vakratunda Mahaakaaya Suryakotee Sama Prabha
Nirvighnam kuru mey Deva, Sarva kaaryeshu Sarvadaa"

her soul had replied

Navratri Khamkhya Temple Assam

Courtesy Jyoti A Deka Guwahati