Festival of colours- Holi
Holi welcomes the spring and the season of love in Honor of God Krishna, who played in his times throwing colors at his many lovers. In the city of Vrindavan, this festival lasts for 7 days. Colours are the most joyous part of the Holi celebrations. They add life and vitality to the festival making it most vibrant of all. Happy holi, everyone
Largely everybody I know love to indulge in Holi celebrations. Not me. I not only refrain from celebrating the colours part, as the artificial colours used in the festivities give my skin rashes and irritation in the eyes. The other unholy part why I desist is the rowdiness associated with this festival which don’t allow me to feel comfortable with strangers coming up to me to apply tilak!!
Pre Colours night - the bonfire
As much as this was a genteel act of good winning over evil, with my social knowledge quotient going up I just feel that the burning of fuelwood to create the bonfire for Holika dahan presents another serious environmental problem. A study done in the state of Gujarat revealed that each bonfire uses around 100 kg of wood, and considering that approximately 30,000 bonfires are lit in the state of Gujarat alone on Holi night this leads to a staggering amount of wood loss.
Maybe we need to find an alternative material to burn instead of good wood?
How about a dry Holi?
In the current situation of water scarcity faced by most of our cities, the wasteful use of water during Holi, is also under scrutiny. It is common for people to douse each other with buckets of water during Holi, and children often resort to throwing water balloons at each other, if not buckets of water from atop apartments on innocent passerbys. The idea of a dry Holi may seem superficial and alien, however if you allow yourself to ponder a wee bit, especially as the climate becomes warmer around Holi, and the water provides welcome relief from the heat – consider our large cities where citizens go without water for several days, it seems wasteful to use so much water simply for a celebration.
I think awareness about the environmental impacts of celebrating Holi are being felt, we need to find traction , and we need to allow our actions to speak louder than words. We need to choose a more natural and less wasteful way of playing Holi.
An environmentally sensitive Holi?
Originally the playful throwing of the coloured powders was seen as joyous as it had a medicinal significance as the coloured powders were made of Neem, Kumkum, Haldi, Bilva, and other medicinal herbs prescribed by Ayurvedic doctors. Including Bhang that is drunk had medicinal reasons for it to be considered good.
But modern days bring its own apathy and neglect. The pastes contain very toxic chemicals that can have severe health effects - Black contains Lead oxide and can cause Renal Failure, Green contains Copper Sulphate and can cause Eye Allergy, Puffiness and Temporary blindness, Silver contains Aluminium Bromide which is Carcinogenic, Blue contains Prussian Blue whcih can lead to Contract Dematitis
Red contains Mercury Sulphite which is highly toxic and can cause skin cancer
And heard this? Holi gulaal is now mixed with Glass Powder to add that sparkle and shine to it to make it look more alluring to beckon buyers!
Posted by Mee at 3:31 AM