Mumbai celebrates Dahi Handi with much fanfare. However, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the popular Jai Jawan Govinda Pathak (squad) along with six other squads of Govinda from Jogeshwari decided to collect plastic waste from Mumbai streets and houses. Over the last three days, the squads managed to gather 1,600 kgs of such waste.
Sandeep Dhawale, coach of Jai Jawan Govinda Pathak, popular for forming high human pyramids, said that they had undertaken the plastic-free Mumbai initiative to mark the festival by maintaining social distance. "We have collected plastic and given it to an NGO named Aakar, which will give it for recycling. The fund raised by selling the recycled products will be used for the education of the needy. Though the initiative was undertaken for only three days, we plan to take it forward," he said.
Jai Jawan Govinda Pathak is a 20 years old squad and has around 700 people who annually take part in forming human pyramids, while 5,000 others assist the troop.
“When the city receives heavy rainfall, its roads get clogged. With our small initiative, the pathaks wish to support the plastic-free movement,” said Dhawale. Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav mandals have also appealed to conduct social welfare events to continue the spirit of festivities even in this critical time. Reportedly, Lalbaugcha Raja this year will be celebrating the festival by organising blood and plasma donation camps.