MUMBAI, INDIA, August 27, 2013 (The Hindu): The Dahi handi celebrations, part of Janmashtami festivities in Mumbai and its suburbs, are literally reaching new heights. And so is the insurance cover for the Govinda teams participating in these festivities. This year, about 3,000 teams have been covered under accident policies for injuries.
The dahi handi exercise involves the breaking of a pot tied at a height of three to five stories by Govindas -- players who form a human pyramid to reach the pot, in a re-enactment of Lord Krishna's antics. The pot usually contains reward money and many teams participate for a shot at this prize.
Occasionally, these attempts result in some players getting injured. Dr. Atul Goel, Head of the Department of Neurosurgery at KEM Hospital, told Business Line that some of the participants injure their spines and skulls while forming the pyramids. If the injury is severe, this can even make them paraplegic. "No amount of medical compensation can make them healthy again," he said.
According to officials of mandals (festival committees), the height of the human pyramids has been rising steadily over the years. And the cash prizes on offer are now as high as Rs 15 lakh (US$23,000).
Sachin D. Khanvilkar, Administrative Officer at Oriental Insurance, says the number of mandal groups covered has been increasing every year. This year the insurer has covered around 1,500 mandals.