Homemakers in Mumbai’s Goregaon ace the Janmashtami pyramid climb

“Many women are being encouraged by their in-laws, which is why we have seen more housewives join our group lately,” said Aarti Bari, treasurer of Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti.
Women practising Dahi Handi at AB Goregoankar School at Goregaon in Mumbai on Wednesday, August 29, 2018.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
Women practising Dahi Handi at AB Goregoankar School at Goregaon in Mumbai on Wednesday, August 29, 2018.(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)
Updated on Sep 01, 2018 09:53 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, Mumbai | ByYesha Kotak, Mumbai

When Ankita Tambat lived with her parents, she needed their permission to become a member of a Govinda pathak (team) to take part in Dahi Handi celebrations during Gokulashtami. But Tambat, now 26 and married for almost three years, continues to receive support from her in-laws to participate in the sporting event.

Tambat is a member of the 100-member Swastik Govinda Pathak from Goregaon, one of the 20 all-woman Govinda teams in the city, according to the Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti, the umbrella body representing the mandals.

“It is a moment of pride when the group name is announced. When I got to know from my friends that they were going for practice, I joined too,” said Tambat.

While there has been no bar on married women becoming members of Govinda pathaks, there was a little hesitation towards it in the earlier days. However, this is now changing . “Many women are being encouraged by their in-laws, which is why we have seen more housewives join our group lately,” said Aarti Bari, treasurer of Dahi Handi Samanvay Samiti. Unlike Tambat, Dipika Chibade, who has been a part of the pathak for the last three years, had informed her in-laws that she is into the sport.

Chibade joined the group in the footsteps of her sister, who became a Pathak member five years ago. The youngest member of the team is 14 and the oldest, 35.

“Many girls around play Kabaddi, but it is important that Dahi Handi, as a sport, is given as much importance as Kabaddi as not a lot of women choose it,” said Chibade.

The pathak, which was originally a group of Kabaddi players, takes out time from their regular practice from Guru Purnima till Janmasthami for Dahi Handi practice.

“In the first year, they are made to do squats, carrying one or two girls on them. Over the years, though they age, some are able to climb up three levels. Which is how, the group which started with a three-storey human pyramid in 2007, now makes six thars (levels),” said Rakesh Surve, their fitness trainer.

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