The Warkari Dindi sculpture at Juhu Circle that caught the attention of CM

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

Thackeray had seen the sculpture “Warkari dindi” at Juhu’s circle on a trip and it had marked him. Bind has been summoned. He said that an impressed Shiv Sena leader asked Bind to make another similar sculpture for him.

Located on the Sant Namdev Maharaj Chowk, better known as the Juhu Circle, one of the busiest crossroads in the city’s western suburbs, the Warkari Dindi sculpture was unveiled just in time before the entry into force of the code of conduct for the 2014 state elections. Inaugurated by Sunil Prabhu, then mayor of Mumbai, the installation has five characters comprising four men and a woman. The woman dressed in a Lugada sari wears a tulsi plant above her head, while the four men have various musical instruments, including the Iktari and cymbals.

“The installation is a scene of a Warkari turkey as the Warkari community heads to Pandharpur,” Bind told The Indian Express. The dindi is the pilgrimage on foot that devotees of Lord Vithoba undertake from remote towns and villages in Maharashtra to the Vithoba temple in Pandharpur as a sign of their devotion.

Thackeray had seen the sculpture “Warkari dindi” at Juhu’s circle on a trip and it had marked him.

Warkari is a religious movement in the Bhakti tradition of Hinduism and has saints and gurus like Tukaram, Namdev and Dyaneshwar.
The parents of the founder of Shiv Sena, Sanjay Pawar, who was the originator of the sculpture, were Warkaris.

“As the crossroads was called the Sant Namdev Maharaj Chowk, we wanted a statue of Sant Namdev Maharaj. However, there was a fear of the disbelievers trying to defile him and hurt religious feelings. Therefore, we decided that it would be appropriate to have a scene of a Warkari Dindi, ”said Pawar.

Pawar remembers the groundbreaking ceremony at the BEST bus depot behind the sculpture where members of the Warkari community were also invited to sing devotional songs.

Bind said it took his team of 8-10 people at Calama Studio over two months to build the five figures. They first used mud, plaster and then fibers.
“What I wanted to do was show the five figures in motion and not like normal statues. Therefore, if you see if I tried to create an impression of movement by showing that they are playing music like they do while they are walking, ”Bind said.

In addition to improving the aesthetics of Juhu’s busy circle, during the pandemic, the sculptures were also useful in raising awareness of measures to be taken to avoid Covid. Masks were affixed to the faces of all five characters and Pawar said it was one of many steps he took to raise awareness during Covid.

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