Flu casts shadow on Janmashtmi celebrations


With authorities advising people against gathering in crowded places to prevent the spread of flu, the traditional “Dahi Handi” celebrations, a key part of the festival in the western state, lost much of their sheen, especially as major political parties like the Shiv Sena and Nationalist Congress Party  pulled out.

People did turn out, but in much lesser numbers and the usual pomp and grandeur was missing from most of the 450 events. As a precautionary measure, most  mandals (organisers) did distribute safety masks to youth who form a pyramid to reach up to an earthen port (dahi handi) filled with yogurt and butter, to claim a prize money. In Pune, which recorded 15 swine flu deaths, nearly 25 mandals cancelled their programmes.

However, in other parts of the country, people, including boys and girls, dressed up as Radha and Krishna, offered prayers at the temples, which displayed colourful tableaus and staged dance dramas or “Raas Lilas” depicting the life of Lord Krishna.

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