‘I have always seen Hindus and Muslims celebrating Holi together’

KARACHI: The cheeks, foreheads and clothes of people flashed several hues of red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple as they celebrated Holi, the Hindu festival of colours, here on Sunday.

Of course, there were things to be taken into account, too, such as keeping masks on at all times, using only dry powder colours, etc, but the limitations could not put a damper on the spirit of celebration.

Though a little late in the evening, there was celebration and festivity in the Hindu temples across the city. The Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on M.A. Jinnah Road, the Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir in Soldier Bazaar, the Sacho Satram Dham Mandir near the Cantonment Railway Station and the Qalandari Ground at Gizri, or PNT Colony, were just some of the places to be on this first full moon of March, when Holi is celebrated.

But even before evening fell there was celebration at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) where Member of the National Commission for Minorities Dr Jaipal Chhabria was hosting a little celebration with celebrity actor, director and producer Javed Sheikh in attendance. There was cake cutting followed by the rubbing of colour on one another’s faces as all wished each other a ‘Happy Holi’.

“Why not celebrate as long as we keep a distance from one another,” smiled Dr Jaipal Chhabria as he went for red to mark everyone’s forehead. “It is a common custom in Pakistan for people from different faiths, be it the Muslim faith, Hindu, Sikh, Christian or Parsi faiths, we all come together to celebrate our festivals together,” he said.

The festival of colours observed in city

“Today we are celebrating Holi together. The world outside should also know how all faiths are united in sharing their happiness with one another in Pakistan. Since my childhood, I have always seen Hindus and Muslims celebrating Holi together, so it is the most normal thing for me,” he said.

Javed Sheikh also said that whenever there is a Holi or Diwali function anywhere in Pakistan, he tries not to miss attending it. “I am suffering from back pain today but I just couldn’t miss the festival as I also wanted to show my love and support to my Hindu brothers and sisters as I care for all minorities in my country,” he said.

KPC President Fazil Jamili also said that the Hindu community in Pakistan has a major role in the country’s progress, especially in the field of medicine. They are serving the people of Pakistan,” he said.

He also said that there is a diversity of religion and cultures in Pakistan, especially in Sindh, where you find pluralism. “The Indus Valley Civilisation in Sindh is the oldest model of Hindu culture here. There is beauty in colours and there is beauty in the colours of Holi that we see here. Excess of one colour can never be as beautiful as a diversity of colours. A field of the same kind and colour flowers can never be as mesmerising as a field of different type and colour flowers,” he rested his case.

In Hindu mythology, the festival of Holi celebrates the power of truth. But most, like the Mughals of the subcontinent, enjoyed it for its colourful form. Actually, Holi is more about fire and burning than colour. It is said that this is a festival to celebrate the power of truth, of good overcoming evil. But also to thank nature for its countless bounties and the season of spring when flowers bloom and the fields are ready for harvest.

Meanwhile, in his special video message for the day, Patron-in-Chief of the Pakistan Hindu Council MNA Dr Ramesh Kumar Vankvani said the third wave of the coronavirus is upon us now and the Hindu community should take care while celebrating Holi.

“The Pakistan Hindu Council cares about the rules of the land and the SOPs that also need to be taken into account at this time,” he said. “I celebrated Holi at home with my family around me as we prayed for the health of the PM and the First Lady, who are suffering from Covid-19, along with plenty of prayers for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan,” he said.

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