Upset Dahi Handi organisers cancel events
Govindas disappointed as practice goes in vain; politicians say they will abide by the court’s orders
Following the Supreme Court order disallowing over 20 feet high human pyramids for Dahi Handi and also banning minors from taking part in it, some major dahi handi organisers in the city have decided to cancel their events.
The participants too are upset stating that their practice has gone in vain.
The festival had been hit last year too following the death in Sanpada of a boy Kiran Talekari who had been practising for the festival. This had led to cancellation of several dahi handis then. This year, the restrictions set by the court have led to cancellations.
Among those who have cancelled their event is former deputy mayor and Congress leader Ramakant Mhatre. Mhatre said, “We respect the court order. We have decided to cancel our programme.”
Mhatre said, “It is the government’s failure as it failed to put up a strong case in the court. It is sad that Hindu culture and traditions that have been followed for years are now being restricted.”
NCP city president Anant Sutar, whose Anant Pratishthan organises the event, has this year decided not to celebrate the festival with the human tiers.
Corporator Namdeo Bhagat of Lokmanya Tilak Sarvajanik Utsav mandal has stated that it will celebrate the festival in a traditional way in Nerul.
There have been similar reports from several other mandals.
Prakash Mhatre, a govinda who has been practising for the festival, said: “This is an occasion where people come together and celebrate. It is sad that the festival is losing its charm due to various restrictions.”
He added, “We had been practicising hard for a month now. We are hearing of cancellations of several events. It would have been better had the court order come earlier. All this time of ours would not have been wasted in the practice.”
There are also voices that have welcomed the court decision.
Mangesh Mane, a Nerul resident, said: “There is always a lot of risk involved in the several tiers that are raised and it worsens with the participation of the young kids. The court has acted rightly.”
He added, “Besides, the festival has turned into a commercial event with people competing with huge prize money, which were often not given.”
Thane, which sees a grand celebration, every year will also see a toned-down affair.
NCP leader Jitendra Awhad, whose organisation Sangharsh usually holds grand Dahi Handi celebrations had cancelled the event last year following the court’s order. “It is extremely unfortunate that the celebration is marred with restrictions. We will not organise Dahi Handi this year as well,” Awhad said.