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

Image Source : PTI

Youngsters dressed as Lord Krishna break an earthen pot on the event of Janmashtami (Dahi Handi), in Mumbai, Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2020. (PTI Photo/Mitesh Bhuvad)

The grim shadow of COVID-19 disaster was seen on Dahi Handi festivities in Mumbai and different elements of Maharashtra on Wednesday as mandals opted for low-key celebration not like previous years which offered for public spectacles by ebullient Govinda squads. Adhering to the social distancing tips, Dahi Handi mandals weren’t forming human pyramids this yr to mark the beginning of Lord Krishna. Instead, they have been finishing up well being and social welfare drives, like blood donation camps and elimination of plastic.

In earlier years, Dahi Handi was celebrated with nice fervour in elements of Maharashtra, significantly in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane, the place spiritual establishments,

political leaders, and Govinda mandals, comprising children wearing vibrant apparel, took half within the festivities. Various social teams additionally used to organise programmes
and money rewards got to the teams which succeeded in making the multi-tier human pyramids and breaking the dahi handis, earthen pitchers containing curd or buttermilk, tied at a top with rope.

But this yr, dahi handis have been being damaged in a symbolic method with these concerned sustaining social distance and sporting masks. Ram Kadam, BJP MLA from Ghatkopar in Mumbai, stated in regular occasions, his mandals Dahi Handi celebration noticed 5 to 6 lakh footfalls.

“Ours was the biggest Dahi Handi celebration in India in normal times. But this year, we celebrated in a very simple manner, observing social distancing given the COVID-19 crisis. No human pyramid was formed. A child climbed atop a table and broke Dahi Handi to mark the festival in a symbolic manner,” Kadam stated.

“This year, we gave a message of boycotting Chinese products and working for an aatmanirbhar (self-reliant) India,” he stated. Bala Padalkar, chief of Dahi Handi Utsav Samanvay Samiti, an umbrella physique of over 950 mandals (teams) within the state, informed PTI that the passion was not the identical this yr and members of varied mandals agreed to not journey within the metropolis to interrupt dahi handis.

Instead, they carried out puja in their very own areas with out forming human pyramids, he stated. Considering the disaster scenario and the courageous struggle put up by COVID-19 warriors, numerous mandals undertook well being and social welfare initiatives, together with blood donation camps, to mark the competition, he added. Sandeep Dhawale, coach of the city-based Jai Jawan Govinda Pathak (squad), identified for forming excessive human pyramids, stated sustaining social distance was the necessity of the hour and celebrating the competition in a easy method was within the curiosity of everybody’s well being.

His mandal has undertaken the plastic-free Mumbai and clear setting initiative on Wednesday to mark the competition whereas following the social distancing guidelines. We are accumulating plastic and recycling it. The fund raised by way of the exercise will likely be used for the schooling of the needy, Dhawale stated. 

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