This morning, when I left from my place to attend Lakme Fashion Week at St Regis hotel in Lower Parel, I was so glad to see the empty streets, unlike what Mumbai used to look like in the previous years on the day of Janmashtami. And what relieved me was the thought that I won’t have to read the news of deaths of govindas due to fall from the pyramids they make to break the dahi handi. But to my utter disappointment, things didn’t turn out the way I thought!
The Supreme Court had issued an order imposing height restrictions on human pyramids formed during the dahi handi festival in Mumbai and prohibiting youngsters below 18 years from participating. The order has capped the height of the human pyramid at 20 feet. This order came in the wake of numerous injuries and deaths of govindas that have been happening over the years. Last year, a boy fell into his death and 300 people were injured while celebrating dahi handi in Maharashtra.
Despite all this, the SC order has been invalidated by MSN, headed by Raj Thackeray, who believes that this decree will ruin the festival as having a 20-foot pyramid makes no sense and that too without the youngsters. Sticking to their belief, the highest dahi handi was set at 49 feet by MNS in Thane with a hope to beat the Guinness Book of World Record of 43 feet. What’s even worse is that a 12-year old boy was put on top of the 9-tier human pyramid which has been named the ‘Kayda-bhang’ or the law-breaking pyramid.
The organizer of the 49-feet pyramid Avinash Jadhav, who has been sporting a T-shirt that reads “I will break the law” (in Marathi), has been booked by the police for defying the SC orders. But Mr Jadhav has fearlessly said, “The Supreme Court cannot dictate how we celebrate our festivals. If I break the law, then I am willing to go to jail for this”.
Well, all I know is that tomorrow morning won’t be a happy one with the amount of unfortunate news related to dahi handi celebrations 🙁