With Janmashtami just a few days away, there is little enthusiasm for competitive dahi handi events across the city. The Supreme Court’s order banning minors from participating and capping the human pyramids to 20 feet has reduced the buzz that used to be palpable in the week before the festival, event organisers said.
Ram Kadam, BJP MLA from Ghatkopar, who organises one of the biggest Dahi Handi events in the city, said he has received no calls from people eager to participate. “We are going to conduct the celebrations as per the rules but the response is very low. We haven’t got any participants as of now.”
Riddhi Dhuri, ex-corporator from Shiv Sena who organises another such event in Vile Parle for women, felt the verdict saves women from getting hurt. “But many groups have completely stopped organising the events and many mandals have not even participated due to less response,” Dhuri said. This year, none of the organisers have announced prize money either.
For Shivaji Bare of Jolly Sports Club, which has been organising events for over 40 years, the verdict is a dampener. “How can a man of 18 years suddenly hop, skip and jump on human pyramids? They have to be trained when they are young,” he said while adding, “The government didn’t oppose when we created records for the highest human pyramid.”
To tell people about the verdict, Swati Patil, secretary of Utkarsh Mahila Samajik Sanstha, whose petition led to the SC order, said, “People are only aware about height restrictions and age limit. But there are 30 rules which are to be paid heed to,” she said. “There is no need to stop the activity. It is always good to enjoy and celebrate without getting hurt,” she added.