Diwali “Pahat” moves online in light of pandemic

Published on Nov 10, 2020 04:16 PM IST

The Diwali pahat is a Punekar tradition usually held on lawns, open gardens, as well as auditoriums

Hundreds of people had gathered for the Diwali Pahat program at Sarasbaug in Diwali 2017.(HT PHOTO)
Hundreds of people had gathered for the Diwali Pahat program at Sarasbaug in Diwali 2017.(HT PHOTO)
Hindustan Times, Pune | ByPrachi Bari

With the Government of Maharashtra allowing auditoriums to open for drama/ theatre, the annual feature of “Diwali pahats” - classical music, dance and other cultural events held at the break of dawn in the city – is also moving online.

The Diwali pahat is a Punekar tradition usually held on lawns, open gardens, as well as auditoriums.

This year, none of this will be possible held due to the pandemic.

Sunil Mahajan of the organisation Samvad, one of the oldest organisers of pahats, has cancelled the event in view of the pandemic.

“There are more than 500 such programme organisers, but this year most of us are doubtful of holding a pahat. There is the option of going online, but it does not have the same feel or essence of a live performance. People come dressed in their Diwali finery to celebrate this festival of light, and enjoy these programmes, but online kills the idea. Why would one get up early to log in at 5.30 am?” said Mahajan.

Dr Satish Desai said, “We have put together a programme of our past recordings of the late Pandit Jasraj and other artistes. We will stream it from 6.30 am to 8.30 am on November 14, the main day of Diwali.”

Madhavi Vaidya, an author, is going to try a different kind of entertainment. “This year, on the four days of Diwali, our foundation Ananway Kavya Mehfil will post videos of poetry from various well known poets, between 8 am and 8.30 am for people to enjoy online.

Ravindra Khare, trustee of the Bharat Natya Mandir, is contemplating staging a drama. “We are thinking of a Diwali sakal instead of Diwali pahat by putting up a performance of a play with 50 per cent audience, but we haven’t yet planned the logistics yet,” said Khare.

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