'Low'-spirited Dahi Handi this year owing to new rules

Aug 18, 2014, 07:16 IST | Neha LM Tripathi

Even after the High Court order of height and age restriction was reversed, many mandals have decided to restrict the number of human tiers, as they did not get enough time to practice

The series of new rules and orders by Bombay High Court and Supreme Court (SC) seems to have thrown cold water on the Dahi Handi festival.

Also read: HC bars govindas under the age of 18 from 'Dahi Handi' celebrations

Govindas tries to makiking human pyramids for Dahi Handi
TONED DOWN: Due to lack of time to practice, many mandals have restricted the number of human tiers as compared to last year. File pic

Despite the order of SC, overruling High Court’s decision of restricting the height of the human pyramid, many mandals have said that this year the number of human tiers would be less, as the late decision of courts did not leave much time for the govindas to practice properly.

Also read: 'No-govindas-under-12' rule upsets major dahi handi organisers in Thane

On August 11, Bombay High Court had ordered mandals to restrict the human pyramid height to 20 feet and banned the participation of children below 18 years in the festival.

Many organisers then approached the SC, challenging the order. The court reduced the ban, allowing children above 12 years of age to participate in the festival, and reversed the order of height restriction of the pyramid.

Also read: Dahi Handi to be a low-key affair in Mumbai

However, during the hearing, some mandals had decided not to have Dahi Handi this year, and only after the Supreme Court’s decision, they decided to go ahead.

Speaking to mid-day, Sachin Ahir, minister of state for housing, said, “We certainly lost precious time for practice due to the court’s decision. But the more important part is that we are being allowed to celebrate the festival.”

Hospitals prepare ahead
The government hospitals are prepared for any emergency case that can occur on Monday. Sion Hospital has reserved 25 beds for casualties at ward number 2 and 4. Similarly, KEM and Rajwadi hospital have also reserved 10 beds each for any emergency cases in their casualty and trauma wards respectively. Vidya Thakur, medical superintendent of Rajwadi Hospital, said, “We have not allowed any doctor to take leave for Monday so that they are present in the hospital in case of any emergency.” Cooper Hospital has also reserved beds in its trauma and surgical wards.

Traffic control
Traffic snarls are expected to occur mainly in Juhu near Iskcon temple. There will be no entry for outside vehicles at Chandok Chowk on Mukteshwar Devalay Marg, from north to south. No vehicles will be allowed on Mukteshwar Devalay Marg and Alfrado Criyado Marg junction from south to north.


Ganesh Adivadekar, member of Govinda Pathak, Chinchpokli
There has been way too much confusion this year, and our rehearsals suffered because of it. We will only form seven to eight tiers this year, as we don’t want to take any chances.

Geeta Zagde, member of Mahila Govinda Pathak, Vile Parle
We will not be taking any risk and want a peaceful festival. Therefore, we have opted for six to seven tiers. While the confusion did affect our practice, it will not affect the festival

Pratap Sarnaik, MLA and Dahi Handi festival organiser, Thane
We have tied handis below 20 feet as per High Court order and will provide safety gear to the govindas so there is no chance of injury.
— Inputs by Chetna Yerunkar

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