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  Govindas take protest to new heights

Govindas take protest to new heights

Published : Aug 26, 2016, 2:11 am IST
Updated : Aug 26, 2016, 2:11 am IST

Govindas lie down on the ground forming a horizontal pyramid to mark their protest against the Supreme Court’s restrictions on Dahi Handi celebrations this year, in Dadar. (Photo: Deepak Kurkunde)

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 26DADARDAHIHANDI9.jpg

Govindas lie down on the ground forming a horizontal pyramid to mark their protest against the Supreme Court’s restrictions on Dahi Handi celebrations this year, in Dadar. (Photo: Deepak Kurkunde)

While the organisers of most Dahi Handi events were unwilling on Thursday to toe the line following an August 2014 order of the Bombay high court, many others in areas like Thane and Navi Mumbai chose to tone down their protests. They raised black flags and wore black masks and wrist bands instead of defying the restrictions placed upon them.

With police teams patrolling the streets looking for people violating the rules, Dahi Handi participants, or Govindas, found innovative ways to stick by the court guidelines but still register their protest. In several places, the organisers began by raising their handi to a height of over 40 feet as a salute — or ‘salaam’ — to the earlier tradition and then lowered the handi to the prescribed 20 feet before attempting to break it.

Dahi Handi is celebrated a day after Janmashtami to celebrate the birth of Lord Krishna and is linked to the legend about Krishna breaking pots to steal butter.

Kokan Nagar Govinda Pathak in Dadar had one of the most novel ways of protesting. The Govindas there formed a 38-foot, nine-layered horizontal pyramid by lying down on the ground, and then used a ladder to break the handi placed at a height of 40 feet. Dadar, Parel and Shivaji Park saw many Govindas sport black masks, wristbands and headbands in protest against the HC order. A group even made a human pyramid higher than 20 feet, but only waved a black flag and did not break any handi.

Thane and Dombivali witnessed ‘silent’ protests, spearheaded by the MNS. The Chitrapat Sena, led by MNS activists Abhijit Panse and Shashank Nagvekar, erected a handi at a height of 49 feet to break the world record of 43 feet, but later lowered the handi and broke it at 20 feet.