With many big organisers pulling out from this year's Dahi Handi celebrations, many well-known Govinda pathaks (groups) from the city have pulled back from the celebrations as well. Jogeshwari's Jai Jawan Govinda Pathak (group), one of the big names has also decided not to participate and has cancelled their practice sessions this year. The group, however, decided to utilise their practice time to fight against the coronavirus pandemic and has undertaken various initiatives against the virus.
"As a part of the initiative, our members have cleaned and sanitised Jogeshwari Gufa (caves) on Saturday, while on Sunday we have decided to install isolation sheets inside auto-rickshaws, which will help ensure a safe distance between the driver and passenger. Till the Janmashtami and later also we will continue our public work," said Mahesh Sawant a group member.
Jai Jawan Govinda pathak, Jogeshwari has over 500 strong members, and is one of the well-know groups in the city. They start practicing from June, at least two months before the festival, while most other groups generally kick start their practice sessions after Guru-Purnima.
This year Dahi Handi or Janmashtami will be celebrated on August 12.
The group began their public services since the lockdown was imposed. Whenever a positive case is detected in Jogeshwari east area, the group members immediately reach there and sanitize the house of the positive patients along with the nearby area.
During the lockdown, the group has already donated 200 bottles of blood to the Trauma Care hospital in Jogeshwari, provided food to tribals in Aarey Coloney, in Raigadh's Hirkani village amongst other areas. The group members have also helped in the rescue operations in Alibagh's Chaull village which was severely affected by the recent Cyclone Nisarga.
"This is a crisis situation and the battle against the virus cannot be won without a unity, the same principle that our sports teaches us," said Sawant.