New rules for Dahi Handi: Justified - Contents of life

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

New rules for Dahi Handi: Justified

 One of the big festivals of India is Dahi Handi. Back ground of the festival connects it to Lord Krishna who used to gather his friends and with their help used to steal Makhan (Butter) which used to kept at a height in a pot. To gain access, Krishna's friends would make a pyramid and Krishna will ride over it and get the pot down. Some times, the pot would break and all the butter would spill out.
In today's date, a bigger version of this small story is seen round every corner. This festival is most famous in Mumbai. It has received a professional touch where some businessmen, MLAs, Corporators put this as a challange for different groups called Govinda Pathak to make huge pyramids and then break the pot. There is a big prize for the winner. Sometimes, the prize money goes upto Rupees 65 lakh or say Rs 6.5 million ( 1 $ = ~ Rs. 65)
To make the challenge more difficult, the pot is put at a very big height. At present, the group has to make a pyramid of 9-10 steps. If average height of group members is considered say 5.5 feet then, the pit height would be somewhere around 50 feet from the group. 

To top that, till date the person who breaks the pot is a small kid mostly around 10-12 years old chosen because of his light weight. As far as my knowledge goes, there is a support provided to this person only through a crane. All other group members who make pyramid steps say upto 8 steps  (40 feet) are on their own.

The Govinda pathak agrees to take up this challenge mainly because of the cash money associated with it. This pyramid building is a difficult task and most of the time the attempts fails when one of the group member looses balance. This results in crashing of all the members. Imagine one falling down from 40 feet. On the ground, it is mainly the people who  try to catch them and that is the only way for the safety of the Govinda pathak. It so happens that many of the group members get injured and even sometime die because of the head injury. In short, the festival has become more of a money making businesss than the actual connection with the Lord Krishna.

This year, there was some controversy where allowing small kids in pyramid building was prohibited. A lot of things happen and eventually the court gave orders that the minimum age of the member of Govinda pathak is 18. No body less than this age will be allowed in pyramid building. Also, the maximum height has been reduced to 20 feet. That means the pyramid will be formed maximum of 4-5 steps.
I think this is a welcoming order and it should be strictly followed. One should not forget that the people who actually participate in such activities are those who have to earn their bread daily. These are the people who don't have lots of money in their bank account and if they don't get their daily wages, they might not get food for the day. And many a times, this need is the reason which makes them put their life in danger.
Many of the organizers have opposed this order and are planning to go ahead with their original plan. Because other wise there won't be big gathering to see a small pyramid breaking a pot. Guess, they care more about the gathering and less about the festival and Govinda pathak.
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