The transformation of Ganesh Chaturthi into a major annual religious and politically significant procession event started in 1894.
According to Aslam Syed, the Ganesh statue immersion ritual in the western states of India may have grown because the annual gathering and procession by Shia Muslims on Muharram was allowed by the colonial British government in the 19th and early 20th century, and after the ritual mourning of the death of the 7th century Imam, they would immerse Tazia (Taboots) into river or ocean.
The Hindus expanded their own Ganesh processions by walking through the streets, joyfully dancing and reciting their scriptural verses and ended their procession with a ceremonial immersion of Ganesh.
The colonial British government attempted to introduce procession licence, to Muslims only, which Hindu leaders presented as evidence of discriminatory oppression by the Muslims and the British.
The Hindu leaders such as Tilak defied any attempts to selectively stop the Hindu congregational gathering and processions associated with Ganesh Chaturthi.
The right to organise processions and immersion rituals of Tazia by Muslims, and Ganesh by Hindus, have remained a religious and equal rights issue ever since, particularly when the religious calendars overlap.
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