Last week, Geeta Pawar, 20, slipped from the fourth tier during a practice session for dahi handi in Vile Parle and hurt her back. However, the fall has not broken her spirit.
On Friday, when Pawar participates in the Janmashtami celebrations, she will wear a waist belt for better back support. “After Geeta slipped, we decided to take precautions. We have also asked the govindas to wear towels on their shoulders to give better traction and foothold to their team members in higher tiers during the rains,” said Geeta Zhagde, president, Parle Sports Club Mahila Dahi Handi Pathak.
While injuries are common during dahi handi celebrations, city mandals said the risk to women govindas is a bigger worry and hence they initiated various precautions this year.
Last year, a woman govinda suffered from a slipped disc after falling. After this, Sankalp Pratishtan has restricted its women govinda group from competing at other mandals this year.
“The group will only participate at our mandal along with other women groups, and we have taken extra precautions such as additional ambulances, insurance schemes, and have also installed close circuit television cameras to keep a watch for harassment,” said Sachin Ahir, Nationalist Congress Party MLA and organiser of Sankalp Pratishtan.
Though insurance schemes provide financial security to women govindas, permanent injuries remain the biggest cause of worry. “It can affect women’s prospects of marriage and childbearing,” said Shivaji Bare, secretary of the Jolly Sports Club women govinda group in Vile Parle.
Bare has instructed the group to keep their nails short, not wear jewellery and to tie a dupatta tightly around the waist for back support.