In 1893, at the Keshavji Naik Chawl, at Lokmanya Tilak’s insistence — as an act of defiance against the British — Bombay’s first sarvajanik Ganesh utsavs was celebrated. A few other chawls, a mile or two away — like Kamat Chawl and Jagannath Shantaram Chawl — glowed with the lights and happy sounds of celebrations that year.
But in the British rule to continue the public celebration of Ganesh Chaturthi every year was a brave task. And in the years that followed, celebrations at neighbouring chawls were snuffed out. However, the mixed bunch of Maharashtrian Brahmins and merchants that inhabited Keshavji Naik Chawl, year after year, courageously brought home a Ganesh every monsoon.
As it has been since the last century, a small Ganesh murti– moulded by the More family, who have always moulded the chawl’s murtis — glows in the dark, cool central courtyard