With Janmashtami around the corner, August 29, the city is predictably full of banners announcing dahi handis. Many of these run into substantial sums --lakhs of rupees. Mandals are in overdrive and dahi handi practice sessions are in full swing across all corners of the city. While breaking the handi is a tradition we have seen recent deviations -- like girls now having pyramids of their own and breaking the handi in an all girls group. Even the advent of big money is a fairly recent phenomenon.
While one has no quibble with that, it is important to see that mandals in their zeal to set new records and outdo each other by adding layers to pyramids, concentrate on the safety aspect.
One has read how young people have broken their hands or legs and tragically even lost their lives during dahi handi.
It should be made mandatory that mandals have a minimum safety code. Political outfits pouring money into dahi handi celebrations need to put a premium on safety, channeling some of those funds into helmets for participants, knee and elbow pads and most importantly a cushioned mattress below to protect the climbers. Let us take into consideration that such an activity can result in heinous spinal injuries in case, climbers fall on a particular person or if the participant has a bad fall from a considerable height.
Even Bollywood, given the huge influence it has, can set an example if future films show dahi handi songs with the actors shod in basic safety gear
Caution never put a dampener on celebrations. In fact, this should enable revellers to mark the day with more joy and parents with less worry about their children.
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