It is disturbing to see that African nationals were hit black and blue in Western Delhi area for showing resistance towards a boy who threw water balloons as a part of Holi celebrations. Is it the right way to celebrate a festival? Festivals are the means to build social cohesion and break prejudices in the minds of the people. But they cannot be forced on someone who is not willing to celebrate the festival! Just because African nationals are staying in our country doesn’t mean that they have to celebrate all those festivals celebrated by us! In fact in our society we have so much diversity that different religions, different areas have different festivals and different way of celebrating it. This kind of diversity itself is the speciality of India. Instead of appreciating the multiculturalism, indulging in physical assaulting and verbally abusing someone is not called for.
We need to understand that our enjoyment should not cause resentment for others. The celebration of Holi has gone to that extent that even a week before the festival itself water balloons are thrown on others irrespective of who they are! Many people face problem because of it. A person might be going for some important meeting and if water is thrown at him/her, it is definitely going to cause problem. Many people get hurt because of the water balloons.
Here, one more important aspect is that we need to be careful about the wastage of water! Recently residents of Delhi had understood the importance of water when water supplies were halted due to agitation in Haryana. But then I wonder how short lived our memories are! We are not ready to learn lessons! In the name of festival so much of water is wasted! Are we aware of the fact that the country is going through two consecutive drought years!? How many of us know that women in the villages of Rajasthan, Eastern parts of Karnataka, Vidarbha regions of Maharashtra walk for miles to fetch a bucket of drinking water? How many of us are sensitive regarding the issue of water crisis? How many of us really know how the drinking water is supplied to us by the municipal corporations, what is the status of Indian rivers, what is the status of ground water depletion and so on? Four states in India have already declared that they are affected by drought. Below-normal rains were witnessed in nearly half of the country and many states are left with pockets of weather-battered farms. In Maharashtra alone, more than 69 talukas are facing drought- like situation. The days are not very far to see water wars among people! Celebrating festival is very much important. But let us not force anyone to celebrate it! Let us be more sensitive and sensible. Actress Dia Mirza has rightly raised the concern of water wastage during the festival and had appealed to people for celebrating dry Holi. Instead of abusing her, let us introspect and appreciate her genuine concern for water.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)