May the festival of colours be a celebration of harmony!
Holi is not just a festival but also a representative festival of our social harmony and vibrant culture
The coronavirus is playing havoc all over the world, making us all jittery. Amidst this atmosphere of fear and worry, we will all be celebrating the most beloved festival, Holi, tomorrow! Holi is the festival of colours. It is a festival of sprinkling colours to cheer up. Given the fear factor in the air due to the outbreak of coronavirus, the question inevitably pops up in the mind as to what one should do? I think we all just need to be on the alert. And yes, celebration is that which springs from within us. It is not necessary that we indulge in chemical colours or apply it to others. What can be more better than a dry Holi?
And yes, Holi has come at a time when the Delhi riots have already troubled all of us. The riots have aggrieved our souls. Therefore, it is important that we use this Holi to make everyone drench with colours of love and affection. Holi is not just a festival of colours, but also a representative festival of our social harmony, brotherhood and deep rooted culture. This is our cultural heritage. It is a festival to eradicate social discrimination. Holi is the day when caste and religion vanish into thin air. The new era poet Sanjay Verma ‘Drishti’ rightly says:
Rango ki koi jaat nahin hoti,
Bhaichare ke desh mein dushmani ki baat nahin hoti,
Ye khel hain prem ki Holi ka,
Milkar rehte hain isliye takrao ki baat nahin hoti.
The timeless tradition of India has taught us that on Holi, even enemies need to embrace each other, forget all their grievances and become friends. So this means the deeper the colour of friendship, the more differences will be destroyed. There are many stories about the tradition of celebrating Holi, but I feel that this festival must have been designed to drench the society with the colours of love and affection. This is an ancient festival, but even today we celebrate it with gaiety as it is based on human beings’ love for colours.
Holi was celebrated even by the Aryans. Holi is chronicled in the ancient scripts and texts of Narada Purana and Bhavishya Purana. Holi also finds a mention in the travelogue of the famous Muslim traveller Al-Biruni. It was the miracle of colours of Holi that the festival remained colourful even during the Mughal era. The story of Akbar’s Holi with Jodha Bai and Jahangir playing Holi with Noor Jahan is also recorded in history. Holi was called Eid-e-Gulabi and Aab-e-Pashi (shower of colours) during Shah Jahan era. The last Mughal emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar used to be daubed with colours by his ministers on the occasion of Holi. I am referring to history here to stress the fact that we all know and understand how much Holi has contributed to the promotion of brotherhood and harmony.
Even Muslim poets and lyricists have written a lot of compositions about Holi. There is hardly any Indian who is not aware of this composition of Nazir Akbarabadi:
Jab Falgun rang jhamakte hon tab dekh baharen Holi ki,
Aur daf ke shor khadakte hon tab dekh baharen Holi ki,
Pariyon ke rang damakte hon tab dekh baharen Holi ki,
Kuch ghunghru taal chhanakte hon tab dekh baharen Holi ki.
This composition of Nazir Akbarabadi is about 250 years old. Similarly, the lyrics of Nazi Banarasi on Holi some eighty years ago is no less amazing:
Kahin pade na mohabbat ki maar Holi mein,
Adaa se prem karo dil se pyar Holi mein,
Gale mein daal do bahon ka haar Holi mein,
Utaaro ek baras ka khumaar Holi mein,
Milo gale se gale baar baar Holi mein.
This hug is actually a symbol of removing hatred and spreading the colour of friendship in the society. So, this Holi, we should make the colour of friendship so strong, spread the love of Gulal so far that there will be no room for hatred! The true colours of happiness and life will then become a celebration! Keep in mind that there is no other colour in this world better than the colour of humanity.
So, wish you all a very Happy Holi! Stay healthy, stay happy!
None can doubt valour of women
The Supreme Court’s decision to give command post to women in the Army will definitely prove to be a milestone for the nation
In an epoch-making decision, the Supreme Court has handed down a straightforward verdict that will write a new text on the canvas of time. The court said women can also take command posts in the Army like men. Command post means to lead a contingent. Simply put, women will get the opportunity to participate in the war directly. There are women in the Indian Army but they were not given command posts till now.
Actually, the Delhi High Court had handed down the verdict in 2010 but the government did not approve it. The government’s arguments were very strange. It stated that women have less physical capacity. They may stay away from work for a long time due to pregnancy. They handle household chores and family responsibilities, therefore cannot handle the challenges of military. Unfortunately, if they become prisoners of war, it will be a stressful situation.
One of the government’s arguments was completely incomprehensible that most of the men in the Army come from rural areas, so they would not be able to accept women as their counterparts!
Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Ajay Rastogi set aside government’s arguments. The court rightly said that women cannot be treated unfairly due to social perceptions. The government suffers from bias in this matter. When women can fly fighter aircraft, why can’t they lead a contingent in the Army? Doubting the physical ability of women is an insult not only to them but also to the Army. The apex court has now given three months to implement the verdict and we should hope that the government will give women equal rights and opportunities in the Army.
Nonetheless, we must consider why women have to face injustice in other echelons of life as well though in my view women are more capable than men. After all, we men too have been brought into the world by women. In recent times, I have seen that even in Maharashtra, which is called an advanced state, hurdles were created in the path of women becoming commissioner of police and chief secretary. Why, after all?
In fact, our governments have also been plagued by prejudice. This should not be tolerated in any case.
Our history is full of instances of bravery and courage of women. The story of Rani Lakshmibai’s heroism is still in the mind of every Indian even after 162 years. The world still remembers the courage of Jijabai, the mother of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Kalpana Chawla, the daughter of India, who took a giant leap into space. However, I would like to discuss here only those women military officers who were mentioned in the petition filed in the Supreme Court. Who can forget Major Mitali Madhumita? She has been awarded the Army Medal for bravery. When the Indian embassy in Kabul was attacked in February 2010, she saved 19 persons buried under the debris. How can Lieutenant Colonel Sophia Qureshi be underestimated? She was the first woman to lead an Indian Army contingent in a major foreign military operation. She also served in Congo under the Peace Mission. Lieutenant Colonel Anuvandana Jaggi has been awarded the United Nations Force Commanders Commendation Award due to her exceptional abilities. Lieutenant Bhavna Kasturi and Captain Tanya Shergill have led a troop of men in the Republic Day and Army Day parades. How can we forget the names of brave officers like Ashwini Pawar, Shipra Mazumdar, Divya Ajit Kumar, Gopika Bhatti, Madhu Rana and Anuja Yadav. They have proved their passion.
I am confident that our women will give a befitting reply to the enemy in the battlefield.
Wherever women in the world have got an opportunity, they have demonstrated their indomitable courage. The world has seen what the Yazidi women of Iraq have done to the terrorists of the Islamic State in recent years. In the Second World War, the Soviet Union dispatched women to the battlefield though now women are not allowed in Russia. When the United States and Britain sent their troops to Afghanistan and Iraq, the women’s contingent was also with them. Although the women of the two countries were not allowed to join the war at that time, the situation became such that the women contingent had to go into battlefield and about one hundred women got martyred. In 2013, American women and in 2016 Britain’s women were allowed to join the war.
By the way, Israel, North Korea, Norway, Finland, Sweden, France, Canada, Germany, Poland and Australia are among the countries where women are allowed to join the war. Norway then started the Jegertroppen in 2014. It is a group of female soldiers. You can call them super commandos. It has proved its bravery in Afghanistan. And as far as Indian women are concerned, they have the courage and patience of a lioness. They are second to none!