Monday, March 27, 2023

Exuberance of Holi

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Spring is here upon us and Holi is a celebration to mark the onset of Spring. It is celebrated on the full moon day of the month of Phalgun. It falls in the month of March according to the Gregorian calendar.

Holika Dahan and Dhulendi

The night prior is Holika Dahan. It has its origins to the demon king Hiranyakashipu, his son Prahalad and his sister, Holika.

The king’s sister Holika sat with her nephew, Prahalad in a pyre with a cloak to shield her from the fire. Prahalad was a devout Vishnu follower, much to Hiranyakashipu’s chagrin. While the pyre was lit, the cloak flew off of Holika and she burned to death. Prahalad, who was immersed in the worship of Lord Vishnu, was unharmed. Thus began the tradition of Holika Dahan.

Holi has varying ways of celebration in India. What remains constant throughout the country, however, is the shower of colours and flowers along with splashes of water, giving it the name Dhulendi.

The celebration is full of vigour and joy for everyone. This statement excludes the “aware activists” from around the world.

Activism on Holi

Activism is a terminology that now is largely associated with a group of apparently jobless individuals. They wait for the Hindu festivals to approach and then their activism begins. The most common way includes shaming the celebrators using a nonsensical array of statements.

Suddenly, as Holi approaches, multiple ads and their agents will start talking about the scarcity of water. True, water needs to be saved. Ironically, these activists are the same people who flush away six litres of water each time they use the restrooms. Should that not be the topic under discussion? Sustainable use of water in cisterns, something used worldwide on a daily basis and not a festival celebrated once in a year.

NO! That is not very beneficial as it does not involve Hindu shaming! So a big NO for that!

Next is banning colours since they affect animals who are victimised by miscreants. Need I bring on to the table certain festivities where animals are butuchered and the other where they are carved for thankfulness? It is an uncomfortable reality of the time. But NO that is not secular apparently.

Following the trail is attaching the low lying practice of eve teasing with the festival. I do not think I need to go ahead with the explanation for the same. We have seen instances of fake cases being filed under the same. Even though their names were cleared, the stain of unnecessary shaming and embarrassment lasted.

How is this a fair practice. There should be a clause somewhere to ban this malpractice for good.

“Tolerant Vigilantes”

What we need on this Festival of Colours is a dash of “tolerant vigilantes”. The “vigilantes” who will watch over and not be dehumanising at the same time. How about we become those vigilantes ourselves and watch ourselves for a better and enjoyable experience this Holi!

It will be a lovey way to put these “activists” also out of so much apparent work they have to do whilst bringing down the festivities!

Let Holi be Holi

Holi is the festival of welcoming Spring with open arms and celebrations. Let us keep it that way. Shun the “activist” prejudices that have been fed to the masses for a very long time. They have served the “activists” well while it lasted. It is the era of revivalism and awareness and these petty hoaxes can be discarded.

Let Holi be Holi and if your “activist” friends have issues with that, then I’m afraid you will have to look for a fresh batch of people to surround yourself with.

The takeaway should be to enjoy this beautiful festival with lots of colour, petals – even water! Dance to your local and regional songs. Go ahead and revive the old cultural practices and join the community as a whole during the festivities. Serve the gujiyas, eat the dahi bhalla and bask in the sun!



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