Mumbai: Ravan effigy burning at NSCI puts a tiff into tradition

Updated: Oct 10, 2019, 08:05 IST | Hemal Ashar | Mumbai

Hilarity ensues on Dussehra night at NSCI, where two factions vie with each other on whether or not to burn the Ravan effigy, before senior citizen settles the matter

The contentious Ravan effigy at NSCI on Tuesday
The contentious Ravan effigy at NSCI on Tuesday

The Dussehra fireworks began even before the burning arrow was fired at the National Sports Club of India's (NSCI) Vijayadashami celebrations on Tuesday evening. Factionalism threw its shadow over the Worli club as members were in a dizzy tizzy over two teams claiming to host the Ravan-burning at the club lawns. First, NSCI vice-president and acting president Viren Shah's team sent a message telling members to assemble at the lawns at 6.30 pm for the Ravan-burning.

Then former president Jayantilal Shah's team who claims to be still in power (with Jayantilal Shah insisting he is president) and says they are the real managing committee, also told members to witness Ravan-burning on the lawns at 6.30 pm. Viren Shah said, "The Tardeo police then sent letters saying they feared a law and order problem so we should not go ahead with the Ravan-burning. It was too late by the time the letter came, so we explained to the police that members were already at the club and let us burn Ravan." Viren Shah accused Jayantilal Shah of trying to stop the truck with the Ravan effigy from accessing the club grounds. "He even kicked the Ravan effigy twice," said Viren Shah, a charge Jayantilal Shah vehemently denies.

Flames devour the Ravan at the Worli club
Flames devour the Ravan at the Worli club

Jayantilal Shah claimed, "As club president, I got a letter from the Tardeo police to not go ahead with Ravan-burning and I thought we should obey orders. We did not get our Ravan effigy to the club. The group opposing us got an effigy and at first I did say we should not go ahead as there are children and senior citizens present. We must obey police orders and if they say there may be a law and order situation we must respect that. Yet, some from the other side insisted it was their responsibility to ensure all went well with Ravan-burning. I then stepped aside. I did not kick Ravan." Viren Shah though said that Jayantilal Shah even said, "do not burn Ravan burn me," an accusation that team Jayantilal Shah rubbished.

Finally, as startled members were wondering at the drama on the sidelines, a senior citizen set the Ravan effigy alight, firecrackers went off and shouts of Happy Dussehra rent the air. As fire consumed the demon signifying the triumph of good over evil, club secretary Atul Maru from Viren Shah's team said, "members exulted and were literally dancing with joy. We had upheld the tradition peacefully." Ravan may have been turned into dust, but with two teams claiming power at the helm of the club it is: ashes to ashes and dust to dust, the demon is felled and resolving the NSCI problem is a must.

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