In a landmark judgement of sorts the Supreme Court of India upheld the directive of the Bombay High Court and banned those below 18 years age from participating in the human pyramids formed during Dahi Handi. The Apex Court concerned about the safety of the young Govindas has capped the maximum height of these pyramids to 20 feet.
Per se when you look at this judgement you would say this is a pretty humane approach and this is exactly how you would want to merge religion and human sensitivities and adapt age old beliefs to modern realities. But the question is are we extending these sensibilities across religion or Hindu festivals the easy target given the flexible and pliant nature of Hindu social construct as well as the policy of pleasing minorities in a so called secular country.
If you are wondering why I am saying so, you simply have to look around. What has been done for that matter to stop the self flagellation of children during Muharram. Is their participation in this event any less terrible/life threatening or inhuman than those who are part of the human pyramids during Dahi Handi? A quick search on the internet showed up one of the last recorded PIL activity in this regard was way back in 2014.
A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and Anuja Prabhudessai heard a PIL by Faisal Banarasiwalla and Abdul Qureshi to save children and adults from injuries by sharp weapons, blades, knives and swords in the name of matam for 40 days. The petition went o to add that even an infant’s forehead is cut with a sharp weapon and many are even made to walk on burning coals in the name of matam. Moreover the same knives used by many and could lead to contracting several harmful diseases in the name of religion?
The question is why are active steps not taken to curb these life threatening practices as was done in case of Dahi Handi rituals? Should I infer that our elected representatives are scared to ruffle the sensitivities of the religious heads and lose out on their precious vote bank?!