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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Art Street: The Warkari Dindi sculpture at Juhu Circle that caught the CM’s eye

Standing on the Sant Namdev Maharaj Chowk, better known as Juhu circle, one of the busiest traffic junctions in the city's western suburbs, the Warkari Dindi sculpture was inaugurated just in time before the code of conduct for the 2014 state elections came into effect.

Written by Mohamed Thaver | Mumbai |
Updated: January 8, 2022 7:46:58 pm
Inaugurated by the then Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu, the installation has five figures comprising of four men and a woman.

Nearly two years ago, artist Raju Bind received an unusual call. It was from Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.

Thackeray had seen the ” Warkari dindi” sculpture at Juhu circle while travelling and it had left an impression on him. Bind was summoned. He said an impressed Shiv Sena chief asked Bind to make another similar sculpture for him.

Standing on the Sant Namdev Maharaj Chowk, better known as Juhu circle, one of the busiest traffic junctions in the city’s western suburbs, the Warkari Dindi sculpture was inaugurated just in time before the code of conduct for the 2014 state elections came into effect. Inaugurated by the then Mumbai Mayor Sunil Prabhu, the installation has five figures comprising four men and a woman. The woman dressed in a Lugada saree is carrying a tulsi plant over her head, while the four men have various musical instruments, including the Iktari and cymbals.

“The installation is a scene out of a Warkari dindi when the Warkari community walks up to Pandharpur,” Bind told The Indian Express. The dindi is the foot pilgrimage that devotees of Lord Vithoba undertake from distant towns and villages of Maharashtra to the Vithoba temple in Pandharpur as a mark of their devotion.

Thackeray had seen the ” Warkari dindi” sculpture at Juhu circle while travelling and it had left an impression on him.

Warkari is a religious movement in the Bhakti tradition of Hinduism and has saints and gurus like Tukaram, Namdev and Dyaneshwar.
Parents of the then Shiv Sena corporator Sanjay Pawar, who was the brainchild behind the sculpture, were Warkaris.

“Since the junction was called the Sant Namdev Maharaj Chowk, we wanted a statue of Sant Namdev Maharaj. However, there was a fear of miscreants trying to defile it and hurting religious sentiments. Hence, we decided that it would be appropriate to have a scene from a Warkari Dindi,” Pawar said.

Pawar remembers the inauguration ceremony at the BEST bus depot behind the sculpture where members of the Warkari community too had been invited who sang devotional songs.

Bind said it took his team of 8-10 persons at Calama studio over two months to build the five figures. They first used mud, plaster and then fibre.
“What I wanted to do was to show the five figures in motion and not standing there as normal statues. Hence if you see if I have tried to create an impression of movement by showing they are playing music as they do during their walk,” Bind said.

Apart from improving the aesthetics at the busy Juhu cirlce, during the pandemic, the sculptures also came in handy to raise awareness about measures to be followed to avoid Covid. Masks were put up on the faces of the five figures and Pawar said it was one of the several measures he had undertaken to raise awareness during Covid.

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