Mumbai: For over a decade now, women have been participating in large numbers in celebrations, forming human pyramids to break the dahi handi. The pot has been sweetened with better prize money for women govindas but like in several spheres of life, the male govindas take home better rewards than their female counterparts.
Geeta Zagade, the coach and president of Parle Sports Club Mahila Govinda Pathak, Mumbai, speaking to The Free Press Journal, expressed her disappointment at this disparity. “Women govindas usually form six tiers of human pyramids but the prize money given is far less compared to men. Look at the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) Thane dahi handi, where women successfully formed a six-tier human pyramid and yet, all they got was a meagre Rs 15,000.”
She said although the city had fewer women’s dahi handi mandals, their dedication and passion remained unmatched. “Usually men form seven-, eight- and nine-tier pyramids and take home lakhs of rupees as prize money, whereas women govindas are not given their due, and it is so unjust,” she lamented. “Women are appreciated and encouraged by organisers, but that is just about it. They are not treated as equals when it comes to giving prize money. If the prize money women get would be on a par with that received by men, more women govindas would enthusiastically participate,” Zagade added. In Mumbai and the Thane region, there are 140 women govinda pathaks in all, while there are 2,000 men govinda pathaks.