by Sameer Majali
Celebrations galore, colourful and extravagant. Heedless of the soaring mercury, the citizens of Belgaum had a wonderful day with friends, relatives and even strangers. It’s one of those festivals that facilitates reaching out to those previously unknown and leaves behind memories to cherish.
It also reveals the great divide; that between those that choose to move out and indulge, and those that stay away from what they deem crazy and find solace in some resting time in the comfort of their homes. Each of these species has its own logic and members seldom cross paths to indulge in debating the same.
A few years ago, the city of Belgaum was witness to the uglier side of the Holi celebrations, an act that was so shocking that it made one wonder if we lived in a town that had any kind of adherence to things that we call civilized and things that we expect in a town known for being the hub of education. More shocking was the fact that this happened in a part of town that was known for being a habitat for well-educated individuals and students from various educational institutions.
The Deshmukh road, the site of all the mis-happenings, was a place where youngsters assembled or moved around splashing colourful impressions on each other. The sad part of the ritual was the number of individuals who tore away each other’s clothes and tossed them up to hang on electric wires that ran through and across the top of the streets. It used to be a saddening display of a behaviour most deplorable and unpalatable to anyone who has some degree of education and civic sense.
It was a refreshing change when over the past two years, the said practise was abandoned and HESCOM was spared of the task of having to clean up the mess. Thanks to the initiative of the local MLA, the public celebrations moved to Lele Ground and that too with a police presence, enough to bring some discipline to the revelry.
When the same happened this year and the satisfaction of the city having evolved to a more sensible conduct was just beginning to seep in, the pictures of the celebrations at Lele Ground emerged. It was appalling to say the least that the heap of torn clothes had only shifted location and the litter had moved to the confines of the ground and areas around it.
It is a wonderful thing to celebrate and have some fun but its indeed sad that acts of celebration should mimic savagery.
Each “Holi” day, just as the celebrations die down and the smiles on the faces of the participants have been replaced by tiredness and the desire to retire for the day after a dessert topped meal, whats left behind is something that merits concern.
We have been talking of a eco-friendly Holi for ages now and yet the only colours that seem to be used are the ones that are being used to colour garments in the textile hub of the region around Shahpur. This year there was talk about conserving water on account of the drought in Karnataka/Maharashtra and yet we did manage to more than waste a few thousand litres of water, both, for the preparation of the colour splashes and the unaccounted and unconsidered loads of it that people used to wash away the remains of the dye from their bodies. There is also the issue of freshly painted and renovated buildings being splashed with patches of pink, seriously tarnishing the new look effort that took place a few days ago. There are also stray cases of windows and car glasses being broken under the pretext of enjoyment.
When will we evolve enough to bring a better order to society while accommodating our desires to celebrate. When will we learn to redefine the concept of having fun to include some civic sense.
Fun and merriment are and should be an integral part of culture, custom and ritual. Joy and fun times with friend and loved ones should be a part of life and has tremendous relevance in these stressed out times.
Question is, will we ever learn to be responsible enough to accommodate the interests and well being of others around us while we just let go and indulge.
It’s time to consider the perspective of “COLOURFUL TIMES AND BEYOND”