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  Metros   Mumbai  21 Aug 2019  Fewer sponsors for Dahi Handi events this year

Fewer sponsors for Dahi Handi events this year

THE ASIAN AGE. | HARSHADA PARAB
Published : Aug 21, 2019, 2:51 am IST
Updated : Aug 21, 2019, 2:51 am IST

Further, many of the regular Dahi Handi sponsors are politicians, some of whom have backed out due to floods in western Maharashtra.

Representational picture of Dahi Handi 2018.
 Representational picture of Dahi Handi 2018.

Mumbai: In an indication that the city will see fewer Dahi Handi events this year, Govinda groups have claimed to receive fewer invites from organisers of the festival.

Geeta Zagade, secretary, Dahi Handi organisation committee, cited lack of sponsorship as the reason for dip in number of these events. “This being an election year, we were expecting greater participation from politicians but it has not happened. However, many will sponsor Ganpati mandals. Unlike Dahi Handi which is a one-day event, sponsoring the Ganesh festival will give them publicity for nine days,” she said.

Further, many of the regular Dahi Handi sponsors are politicians, some of whom have backed out due to floods in western Maharashtra.

BJP MLA Ram Kadam, who cancelled his event, said, “I don’t know about the others but I have cancelled the event as it does not look good when people have died in floods in neighbouring cities.”

Shiv Sena MLA Pratap Sarnaik, who organises Dahi Handi in Thane district, however said, “Personally, I don’t think people are backing out of sponsoring Dahi Handi events. We have organised the Pro-Dahi Handi, which is a big Dahi Handi event. We are appealing Dahi Handi mandals to donate their prize amount to the flood-affected people.”

Meanwhile, Umesh Bhoir, a senior from the Young Umarkhadi Govinda mandal, said, “We spend on food during practices every Sunday and on holidays. Till the actual day, we spend nearly Rs 2.5lakh on clothes, food, buses etc. This year, there are fewer sponsors and fewer events. Last year, we had won a prize amount of Rs 2.25 lakh. This year, we don’t see such opportunity.”

Coordination committee: No Govindas below 14 years of age

The coordination committee for all Govinda mandals participating in Dahi Handi events is firm about not letting children below 14 years of age be part of the human pyramids that are a highlight of the festival.

The committee said it will stand with the police and not interfere when it comes to taking stringent action against errant mandals.

“After 2009, the Dahi Handi celebrations are facing a lot of hurdles due to many reasons. The Govindas meeting with accidents during the festival is one of the reasons,” said Geeta Zagade, secretary, Dahi Handi coordination committee.

“If any Govinda is found to be below 14 years of age, the concerned authority or the police will take action against such mandals. We will not interfere in their action. In fact, we will not support such Govinda mandals,” said Ms Zagade.  

Another secretary of the coordination committee, Surendra Panchal, said, “After the high court’s decision, we are very strict about the age of Govindas participating in human pyramids. We have personally visited many practising Govinda mandals to ensure that there is no Govinda below 14 years of age. We are also checking birth certificates and Aadhar cards of the Govindas who will be at the top of these pyramids.”

Tags: dahi handi festival, ram kadam