In fact, injuries have occurred even before the dahi handi groups reach their destination; trucks and tempos were involved in accidents, and revellers perched precariously on the edges were hurt yesterday.
There have been some calls for the dahi handi practice itself to be stopped, but this will serve no purpose. Besides Janmashtami being a religious festival, the quest to break the dahi handi also serves to unite the youngsters at the neighbourhood level in a unique way.
Moreover, the teams who compete for the prize practice for the event more than a month ahead. This underscores the determination and dedication which they apply to the task. The cash prize is often not worth the trouble, after it is divided among the mandal members with expenses accounted for. It is the thrill of the chase and the skill of the climb which drives the dahi handi participants. The need is not to curb this but to encourage and channelise it.
However, enthusiasm does not equate recklessness, and there is no excuse for increasing mishaps being reported.
It is heartening that some mandals have started putting into place safety measures for the climbers. Such measures can be made standard features, perhaps also a requirement for registered mandals.
Dahi handi is fun. And it should not cost lives.
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