If cloud seeding does not work, it’s time to pray.
Several political parties tried to appease the rain gods by holding religious ceremonies. Bharatiya Janata Party corporator from Ghatkopar Pravin Chheda organised a yagna last year to pray for rain; he plans to do so this year too. “The yagna could be some time in early June,” Chheda said.
India has a variety of rituals that are believed to induce rain. For example, frogs are sometimes married and in some areas dance rituals are staged.
Every year on June 7, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) conducts a small puja and breaks a coconut at Tansa, one of the city’s catchment areas, praying for a normal monsoon. “We don’t believe in such prayers, but it’s been a tradition for many years. Water Department officials go to Tansa and pray for rain,” said an official requesting anonymity.
In 1964, Mumbai faced a water shortage due to a delayed monsoon. Then, the BMC had appealed to outsiders to not come to Mumbai for a while. In 2002, the Hydraulic Department arranged a huge pooja and yagna to pray for rain after a dry spell.
Last year, priests at a Matunga temple organised a Varuna Yagna in which priests sat in barrels of water up to their neck.