COVID-19 pandemic casts shadow on ‘Dahi Handi’ celebrations

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Updated: Aug 12, 2020 3:54 PM

Adhering to the social distancing guidelines, Dah Handi mandals were not forming human pyramids this year t mark the birth of Lord Krishna.

Dahi Handi, dahi handi celebrations in mumbai, covid 19 pandemic,lord krishna, janamasthami celebrationsAdhering to the social distancing guidelines, Dah Handi mandals were not forming human pyramids this year to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. (IE photo)

The grim shadow of COVID-19 crisis was visible on Dahi Handi festivities in Mumbai an other parts of Maharashtra on Wednesday as mandals opted for low-key celebration unlike past years which provided for public spectacles by ebullient Govinda squads.

Adhering to the social distancing guidelines, Dah Handi mandals were not forming human pyramids this year to mark the birth of Lord Krishna. Instead, they were carrying out health and social welfare drives, like blood donation camps and removal of plastic.

In previous years, Dahi Handi used to be celebrate with great fervour in parts of Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane, where religious institutions political leaders, and Govinda mandals, comprising youngster dressed in colourfull attire, took part in the festivities.

Various social groups also used to organise programme and cash rewards were given to the groups which succeeded in making the multi-tier human pyramids and breaking the dahi handis, earthen pitchers containing curd or buttermilk, tie at a height with rope.

But this year, dahi handis were being broken in symbolic manner with those involved maintaining social distance and wearing masks.

Ram Kadam, BJP MLA from Ghatkopar in Mumbai, said i normal times, his mandals Dahi Handi celebration saw five t six lakh footfalls.

“Ours was the biggest Dahi Handi celebration in Indi in normal times. But this year, we celebrated in a very simpl manner, observing social distancing given the COVID-19 crisis.

No human pyramid was formed. A child climbed atop a table an broke Dahi Handi to mark the festival in a symbolic manner, Kadam said.

“This year, we gave a message of boycotting Chines products and working for an aatmanirbhar (self-reliant India,” he said.

Bala Padalkar, chief of Dahi Handi Utsav Samanva Samiti, an umbrella body of over 950 mandals (groups) in the state, told PTI that the enthusiasm was not the same this yea and members of various mandals agreed not to travel in the city to break dahi handis.

Instead, they performed puja in their own area without forming human pyramids, he said.

Considering the crisis situation and the brave fight put up by COVID-19 warriors, various mandals undertook health and social welfare initiatives, including blood donation camps, to mark the festival, he added.

Sandeep Dhawale, coach of the city-based Jai Jawa Govinda Pathak (squad), known for forming high human pyramids said maintaining social distance was the need of the hour an celebrating the festival in a simple manner was in the interest of everyone’s health.

His mandal has undertaken the plastic-free Mumbai an clean environment initiative on Wednesday to mark th festival while following the social distancing rules.

We are collecting plastic and recycling it. The fun raised through the activity will be used for the education o the needy, Dhawale said.

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