While top political leaders chose to stay away from community gatherings on Holi, people across India celebrated the festival with friends and families in their apartment complexes and residential neighborhoods with usual fervor despite the looming threat of Coronavirus.
Though some major annual events such as world famous Holi at Mathura and Vrundavan were cancelled, reports of celebrations continued to pour in throughout the day from Kashmir to Bengal and Gujarat to Karnataka.
The Centre for Inclusive & Sustainable Governance in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Workers Party (JKWP) on Tuesday celebrated Holi with fervour and gaiety at the Gindun Park in the Raj Bagh area in Srinagar. “Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs all are under one roof to celebrate Holi and we are happy to see the communal harmony intact and we wish every countrymen on this special day occasion,” said Mir Junaid, president of JKWP.
In his message, Junaid said that festivals celebrated in a country or society offset its culture and traditions. Holi is a festival of social equality, which removes disparity and life’s monotony.
The festival of colours, was celebrated with mirth and gaiety across West Bengal as people participated in large numbers draped in festive spirits. While the Bengali community predominantly celebrated ‘Dol’ (spring festival similar to Holi) a day back, it was the turn of the non-Bengali communities to splash colours on one another to soak in the spirit of revelry during the day.
The city’s hot spots, including amusement parks and community centres, saw substantial footfalls as revellers feasted and spent time with friends and family with peppy Bollywood numbers being played in the background.
Plates of crunchy gujiyas, sev, laddoos and other sweets vanished from the plates in the blink of an eye as tall glasses of coolers like lassi and thandai were enjoyed by the old and young alike as they smeared gulal on each other.
Mathura Isckon temples has prohibited the entry of foreign pilgrims into its premises for two months amid the coronavirus scare, while the community Holi of widows in the city was also cancelled.
Saurabh Das, PRO of Vrindavan Iskcon Temple in Mathura told news agencies, “Due to Coronavirus, we’ve requested foreign devotees not to visit the temple for the next two months. If they want to visit the temple, they will have to produce the medical certificate to prove that they are not infected.”
Hundreds of widows in Vrindavan also did not play Holi this year in view of the coronavirus outbreak. The Sulabh Foundation that has been working for the welfare of widows, said that the Holi celebrations were called off. “Holi celebrations lead to huge crowds and playing with water would make the widows, most of whom are old, susceptible to infection,” the spokesman said.
In the wake of novel coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Narendra Modi too on Tuesday chose not to participate in Holi events as precautionary measures suggested by experts.
The Prime Minister, however, greeted people on the occasion as the nation celebrates Holi, the festival of colours.
In a tweet in Hindi, the Prime Minister said: “Heartiest greetings to all of you as you celebrate this festival of colour, joy and happiness. I hope this festival brings a lot of happiness to people across the country.”
“Experts across the world have advised to reduce mass gatherings to avoid the spread of COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus. Hence, this year I have decided not to participate in any Holi Milan programme,” PM Modi had tweeted.
Taking a cue from PM Modi’s decision, the BJP leaders in Uttar Pradesh also cancelled ‘Holi Milan’ events in the state. BJP President J.P. Nadda has also written to all state unit chiefs, advising against social gatherings and Holi Milan events, party leaders said.