Amid the rise in the COVID-19 cases in the country, Holi in 2021 will be a low-key affair as the Centre has asked states and UTs to take adequate measures to arrest the surge of daily cases ahead of the festive season.
From March-end, a host of festivities are lined up, including Holi and Shab-e-Barat in March to Gudi Padwa, Chaitra Navratri and Ram Navami in April. The outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has over 59,000 new cases in India, is the biggest 1-day spike.
Krupal, a colour seller from Borivali market said, “This year we have a lot of shortage of China-made fancy water guns and sprinklers. In Mumbai alone, 20-25 Chinese toys importers every year bring about 5-lakh pieces of water pressure guns attached with small water tanks of 18 and 24 inches, and each costing about Rs 300-500. Currently, traders have no stock for this year and in the current situation. Meanwhile, BMC has also imposed strict rules; we are in financial crises due to almost no business.”
Vice-President of United Toys Association of Mumbai, Abdullah Sharif said, “The time is very crucial, people are out of a job, and vendors are out of business and above all no adequate supply, very tricky situation for small-time businessmen who deals with colours and toys. About 250 manufacturers, sellers, suppliers and traders of Holi colours, water guns and other such products across India are having survival issues.”
Shabad Alam, a plastic toys supplier told us, “Most toys reaching India are manufactured in Guangdong, a coastal province in South China, whereas the novel coronavirus’s epic centre is in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei province, about 1000 kilometers away. India’s toy industry, worth about Rs 4,000 crore, is dominated by Chinese imports to the tune of 85 per cent. Of the Chinese toy exports, India accounts for only 5 per cent and the Indian manufacturers do not make innovative toys, the most preferred toys among children are water guns, water motor guns and different pichkaris.”
The Indian colour manufacturers, mostly in the small-scale sector and only a few hundreds, contribute only around 15 per cent of the Indian market. As against this, there are thousands of importers from China, including large-scale organised importers. This Holi would be colourless for many vendors and retailers. The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) banned public, community and private festivities during Holi and Rangpanchami.
Though there will be no lockdown and restrictions on the interstate and intrastate transport, according to the order of the ministry of home affairs, district administrations will be responsible for containing the spread of the infection and local lockdown may be imposed for that purpose, the ministry of home affairs said.
Meanwhile, Afternoon Voice spoke to several people, from the film industry to the students, to an entrepreneur to employees, if they are okay with “No Holi this year?”
Here is what they had to say
Actress Sunayana Fozdar said, “Yes, I am completely fine with no Holi being celebrated this year. The main significance of Holi is that good triumphs over evil; which clearly translates into getting rid of evil. This year I hope we can conquer evil.”
“You know, thinking back to my college days, I have had some really special Holi memories. I have these four school friends, and we would spend each Holi at each one of our places. And since each one of us is from different cultural backgrounds, the way we celebrate Holi is different. So, Holi always held a very special meaning to me. But keeping in mind the current situation, no matter how much Holi can excite us, we should think of the bigger picture and a better future for us all! And that can only happen if we’re all careful, and abide by the COVID-19 safety regulations laid down by the government,” cited Donal Bisht who has worked in several TV serials.
Tanveer Singh Chaudhary, an engineering student from DJ Sanghvi College shared his view on the subject, “Holi seems incomplete without celebrating with our near and dear ones. This year I’d like to suggest everyone to have a “quarantined Holi” celebration. We could celebrate Holi with our immediate family and avoid the risk of covid. This would only keep us and our family safe. So, I urge everyone to celebrate with the same enthusiasm but alongside following the covid guidelines. I wish everyone a Happy and a Colourful Holi!”
Shreya Chaturvedi, Program Support Specialist at Amazon asserted, “Since childhood, I’ve never been too fond of Holi as the post effects need too much of effort (cleansing and all). On the contrary, looking at the current situation of the pandemic, I guess it would be better if I convince as many people as I can to avoid social gatherings and stay at home for their safety. We are already observing the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. People can just stay at home and celebrate the festival with family members. This is what I do every year and would suggest all to follow the same at least for this year for everyone’s safety and good health.”
Actress Nanda Yadav told Afternoon Voice, “Yes I am okay with no Holi this year as health is more important. The festival comes every year and this year can be an exception if that’s needed for our health.”
Actor-Model Ashleysha Yesugade said, “It’s absolutely okay for me to not celebrate Holi as safety comes first. Public gatherings should be avoided, to curb the spread of the deadliest virus. I will definitely miss Holi this year as no events are happening, but it’s completely fine.”
“I guess we all should follow the guidelines mentioned by the government to fight against COVID-19. And I am completely okay to not celebrate Holi as the cases are rising in Mumbai. I just want to urge people to celebrate this year’s Holi at home and protect their loved ones from the virus so that next year we can enjoy Holi to a great extent. Happy Holi everyone,” said actress Bidita Bag.
Rajat Tripathi, content head at Asia, Kuaishou shared his Holi plan with us and said, “Holi ko celebration ke bina imagine karna muskil hai (Imagining Holi without celebration is quite tough). Every year I and my friends used to visit each other to celebrate Holi. But due to coronavirus this year it won’t be possible. So, we are planning to have to class reunion on Holi through the zoom app!”
Actor Thakur Anoop Singh said, “Holi is definitely a beautiful festival, but while water-wastage becomes a legitimate problem every year, this year, the issue is even bigger, and that’s COVID. Since the cases of the virus are also multiplying by the day, I’d advise everyone to opt for a ‘Homli’ (Homely+Holi) Just how a lot of festivals were celebrated at home during the lockdown, the same has to be done with Holi. This Holi should be all about spending quality time with family!”
“No Holi this year makes me feel a bit upset, though nevertheless, we can enjoy this festival with mouth-watering Puran polis. Festivals go hand in hand with sweets. So, let’s celebrate this festival of Colours by enjoying mouth-watering Puran polis as it is also said “Holi re Holi purnachi poli”. Like I said festivals come and go every year. But the safety of us, as well as our surroundings, is also important. So, let’s celebrate this festival at home and protect ourselves so that next year we can pack our bags full of Holi colour, pichkaris and water bags”, said Akanksha Sanjay.
Rakesh Zala, an entrepreneur by profession told us, “Yes I am completely okay with the “No Holi” celebration as it is best, for now, keeping the current situation in mind. The COVID-19 cases in Mumbai are on surge so, it’s our responsibility to take precautionary measures to curb the spread of the virus. Have a safe and colourful Holi.”
“In a backdrop of COVID-19, I’m okay to celebrate Holi without colours and public gathering. We still can celebrate Holi by wishing each other, making sweets, spending time with the family. Holi can also be celebrated with all this without going outside, without throwing colours on each other. We all must realise that it’s better to avoid social gatherings, should follow covid guidelines to curb this disease. We can still celebrate this next year and must care for one another, care for the elderly. Let’s not get sick and let’s not make others sick. Happy Holi everyone!” said Isha Sharma, Marketing Manager at Conscious Food.
Actor Yuvraj Singh said, “Yes looking at the coronavirus scenario it’s fine to avoid Holi, as we have to behave responsibly. People have been irresponsible towards COVID and have taken the pandemic carelessly due to which the spike has returned to Mumbai and few parts of India, it’s important to get rid of the pandemic this year at any cost.”
Tanya Mishra, Customer Success Manager at Webscale Networks said, “For several years we have been celebrating Holi but as we all know that since 2020 the very uncertain strain of coronavirus has struck overall in the world and people are fighting with this virus with all their will. The spread of the virus decreased a little last year in December however it is again taking a great rise in many parts of India, which is an alarming situation. I understand that festivals hold our religious sentiments and we celebrate them with all our heart. However, we must avoid playing Holi this year with a lot of mass gathering to help fight this virus quickly and so that we can be free of this virus as soon as possible.”
“Holi is a festival of colours, let us celebrate Holi in COVID-19 by colouring our souls with colours of brotherhood, unity love, peace forgiveness. Care for each other and help our loved ones safe and support the government by following the COVID-19 norms of wearing masks maintaining social distancing. Happy Holi everyone,” said social activist Archana Sharma.
Singer Savaniee Ravindrra said, “Considering the current situation I am absolutely okay with no Holi this year. I think this will be a wise and good decision to stay home, to stay safe and to celebrate the festival with your family and loved ones, instead of celebrating it publicly.”