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Krishna Janmashtami 2019: Why Safety Should Come First In Dahi Handi Celebrations

Krishna Janmashtami is around the corner and the discussion about Dahi Handi celebration cannot stay far. Marked by the birthday of Lord Krishna, this popular festival of all the time and is celebrated across different states of India. In Mumbai and Pune, it is known as Gokulashtami while in other states, it is famous as Krishna Janmashtami. On this day, people from different communities gather together and take part in the Dahi handi celebration. Music, dance, colours, and shows complete this grand festival.

Safety First In Dahi Handi Celebration

The most important question that needs immediate attention is the safety of the participants in this sportive event. For people who are not aware of this celebration, Dahi Handi is an sportive event that is performed by a group of boys known as handis or mandals and the person who reaches the top climbing the human pyramid is called Govinda during Janmashtami. The idea is to reach the top and break the earthen pot, which is hanged at a height of about 20 feet or more. When a certain team breaks the handi (earthen pot) filled with Dahi (or other milk-made delicacies), they are declared as a winner and a prize is handed over to them at the end of the event.

The pyramid formed is usually 9-tiers or below and each team is given three chances to break the handi. As thousands of Govindas participate in the festival with equal enthusiasm to win the prize that ranges between 1lakh to 12 lakh, the security of the participants come at high risk.

A report published in the Journal of Postgraduate Medicine says. "There is a considerable risk of serious, life-threatening injuries inherent to human pyramid formation and descent in the Dahihandi festival".

In the year 2012, around 225 govindas were injured while one was in the casualty. Last year, two govindas died while more than 85 were seriously injured after falling from the height. The total of 1171 govindas is observed to be injured in the last 5 years, as per the state government information.

This makes the safety of the govindas more prominent on the eve of Janamashtami.

Insurance Compulsory For Dahi Handi Participants

This year, the rules of Dahi Handi celebration has changed for good. The Mumbai police have made it compulsory for the participants to obtain an insurance policy of Rs. 10 lakh to get the permission of participating in the competition.

This new rule has made many public and private companies to come up with benefitting insurance packages for the govindas.

Dahi Handi Utsav Samanway Samiti has bought an amazing spot insurance scheme where the participants can register for insurance at the spot and take part in the competition. Also, the height of the handi was ordered not to exceed above 20 feet.

Some Safety Measures For Govindas

To ensure that no more lives are lost during the ceremony and people carry the same spirit throughout the competition, certain safety measures should be kept in mind. The safety measures are as follows:

  • Never drink alcohol if you are participating in the celebration
  • Don't participate if you haven't got enough experience of climbing a human pyramid
  • Stay hydrated the whole day because it is a long event
  • Keep first aid or ensure that the organisers have availability for the same
  • Wear helmet and knee cap in case you fall down
  • Protect your eyes from the colours used during the celebration, you can wear a sunglass as well
  • Remember, it's the spirit of the game which should be taken care of, not the money
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