Mumbai: Dancing at Dahi Handi claims 45-yr-old's life

Aug 19, 2014, 08:20 IST | Ankoor Anvekar and Pooja Kalwar

Docs suspect that Rajendra Ambekar suffered a cardiac arrest while dancing at Pratap Sarnaik’s Dahi Handi; 210 injured govindas were taken to hospitals

Casting a long shadow on Dahi Handi festivities, a city mandal lost one of its members in Thane yesterday. Like every year, city hospitals received a steady stream of injured govindas: in comparison to the 246 cases of injury reported in Janmashtami celebrations last year, 237 govindas were reported injured yesterday. Of them, 210 were discharged after receiving treatment for minor injuries.

A govinda succeeds in breaking the coveted handi
A govinda succeeds in breaking the coveted handi. Pics/Sameer Markande and Satyajit Desai

Rajendra Ambekar (45) lost his life while dancing at celebrations held in Pratap Sarnaik’s Dahi Handi event in Thane, yesterday. He is suspected to have suffered a cardiac arrest, and was rushed to Thane Civil Hospital after collapsing around 2 pm. Rajendra was a member of the Lalbaug-based Sai Utkarsha Krida Mandal, and had come to Thane to help his team in different events in the area.

A policeman keeps a close watch on proceedings
A policeman keeps a close watch on proceedings

Doctors said that Ambekar had already breathed his last when he was brought to the hospital. Harish Pandhare, his friend, said, “This has come as a shock to all of us. He used to look after all mandal members and made sure they had food and water as they took breaks between forming pyramids.” Rajendra, an electrician, lived with his family at Lalbaug’s Sai Sadan Complex.

While mandals spread across the city insisted that they had followed the Court’s orders of not allowing children below 12 to participate in Dahi Handi, Sion Hospital treated an eight-year-old who sustained injuries while climbing a pyramid. The child, Sachin Brijmohan Patwa, was brought in after suffering a head injury. Hospital authorities confirmed that the boy, who lives in Dharavi, was part of the human pyramid. Doctors treated and discharged him.

Dr Avinash Supe, dean at Sion Hospital, said, “About 16 patients were brought to our hospital, of which we admitted four. One of them was in a critical condition and is in the ICU. An eight-year-old who had come for treatment in the afternoon was discharged; he’d suffered minor injuries.”

Dr Shubhangi Parkar, dean at KEM Hospital, said, “There were about 67 patients who came to our hospital; eight have been admitted. Three of them will have to undergo surgery for minor fractures.”


Vakola resident Ritesh Mohite (15), a member of the Bal Ganesh Mitra mandal, was wheeled into Sion Hospital with an injured left hand.

Ritesh Mohite

He said, “We had formed a seven-tier human pyramid in Kurla, and I was on top. Suddenly, I slipped and fell on my left hand. Thankfully, no other part of my body was injured.”

Sandeep Pawar (28) was brought to KEM Hospital last evening with a leg injury. Pawar is a member of the Colaba Welfare Centre mandal and had gone to Naigaon to break the Handi with other govindas.

Sandeep Pawar

He said, “I have been a govinda for eight years now and have always been at the base of the pyramid. This was the first time I injured my leg, when the pyramid collapsed and many of the govindas from the upper tiers fell on my leg.” Pawar suffered a minor fracture in his left leg and was sent to Bombay Hospital for treatment.

Kalwa resident Pravin Yadav (23) was brought into Sion Hospital in a serious condition. His brother Narendra Yadav said, “Pravin was a govinda in the Kalwa Dahi Handi.

Pravin Yadav

I got a call from his friend, telling me that he fell while trying to break the pot. I took him to Shivaji Hospital in Kalwa, where they said his condition was serious. I brought him to Sion Hospital, where he has been kept in the ICU.” A doctor treating him said that he was stable and would be shifted to the ward soon.

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