Celebrating Holi just with the following song is misconstruing its cultural and long-cherished meaning and hence it takes us nowhere:
बालम पिचकारी जो तूने मुझे मारी
तो बोले रे ज़माना खराबी हो गयी
मेरे अंग राजा जो तेरे रंग लगा
तो सीधी-सादी छोरी शराबी हो गयी
Today— the ‘Phagu Purnima’ day—the Holi festival day— marks the beginning of the spring. It could also mean a day to making new friends and reuniting with the old ones following ‘let bygones go bygones’ formula. Holi brings opportunities to make new beginnings in life in the similar vein as the spring brings new life to the nature.
No festivals we celebrate end just with fun and merrymaking. Rather, most festivals we celebrate guide us get re-energized and restrengthened ourselves so as to be capable of ending evils of any sorts—the Holi festival we are celebrating today ends with the Holika Dahan—Holika symbolizes an evil. Ending all forms of evils is a must should we expect to establish and preserve the much-needed culture of protecting good from bad—Holika was burnt simply to protect Prahlad—a metaphor to goodness. The million dollar question is: do we realize this ?
Holi is the festival of colors. Colors add up to beauty. However, beauty comes from being and not searching. Beauty is a multidimensional human aspect and colors polish only one of the dimensions—the outer beauty. What matters is the inner beauty, not the outer one. Remember, there is no substitute for inner beauty. Also remember, no one is beautiful without being dutiful. I define those people to have possessed inner beauty who are tough as nails, uncompromising about their values and characters, and are deeply concerned about others with respect and honour. I wish everyone to enjoy the Holi having respected others’ interests and preserved his/her own inner beauty.
Humans are best to themselves only when they think of others’ pains while seeking self pleasures. They should be never ever guided by the ‘I do not care about others as long as I enjoy from what I do’ philosophy. Ratnakar, the notorious dacoit, was not at all good to anybody and, therefore, not best to himself. Balmiki— Ratnakar’s another avatar— was good to everybody and, therefore, best to himself. Alfred Nobel was best to himself not because he terrorized the entire humanity having established oneself a Dynamite-King—the merchant of death— but because he founded the great Nobel Prizes. All such examples should suffice to give a good moral lesson to everybody that it is never late to correct oneself—it is never over until it is really over.
It is unwise, indecent and impolite on anybody’s part to seek his/her pleasure out of others’ pains. Playing colors is enjoyable only when people who you throw colors on enjoy it and reciprocate too. Beauty turns into ugly with excessiveness. Excessiveness anywhere invites destructions and catastrophes everywhere. The beautiful city—the Golden City—Lanka— that we read in the Ramayana turned into ashes due to excessiveness on the part of Ravana.
For most, Holi has now become almost a spent festival. But the youngsters try to enjoy it with much zeal and fervor. So far so good! But let Holi not become unholy and the festival of colors not turn into the rowdy activities such as excessive revelry, drinks and sexual harassment of the opposite sexes. I wish all to avoid such activities and enjoy the Holi. Moreover, the Covid-19 has not gone. Avoiding crowds and following Health and Safety protocols has no substitute , given the surge in the number of infections in neighboring India and the rapid spread of a new variant of Coronavirus—more contagious than the earlier versions of the virus— that is raising the alarm worldwide.
I wish all my readers a very happy Holi!