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HOW TO: Have An Organic Holi This Year [And Stay Safe From Chemicals]

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By Nitum Jain:

Just a couple of days from Holi, and the Indian markets are inundated with colours. Be it the mounds of gulaal in all vibrant colours possible, or the towering mountains of sweets with even more variation in the colouring! This is one Indian festival that can be called a day of just pure, unadulterated fun. But the fun element kept aside, none of us really enjoy the aftermath when we go to our schools, colleges or offices with pink ears, green scalp, red nail-beds and itchy rashes all over. So let’s ditch the chemical-based colours this year and go organic!

The organic colours are made flower petals, arrowroot powder, food grade colours and natural fragrances. The cheap chemical counterparts can cause several skin-diseases, from rashes to skin cancer, and have resulted in several cases of eye-allergies every year on this day. The organic colours, on the other hand, are skin-friendly and edible, and cause zero harm to even the most sensitive skin-types. Not only do they keep you skin-coloured and rash-free, they also keep the environment clean! As we know, massive amount of water is used this time every year; the synthetic colours pollute the water severely and the treatment of this water becomes a near-impossible task, hence leading to wastage of water. But organic colours, being all natural, eliminate that problem altogether.

What’s even better is that you can make organic colours yourself! Here are some homemade recipes we have to offer:

Red: You can use red sandalwood powder, vermillion (sindoor), dried rose petals or grated beetroot (chukunder). Even red hibiscus, dried and powdered can produce a nice ruby-red shade.
Green: Take some dried henna leaves and ground them to powder. But beware of this one; if the colour gets wet then you get tattooed orange for at least a week or two.
Blue: Flowers like jacaranda or blue hibiscus, when powdered, produce a rich blue colour.
Yellow: Turmeric and gram flower (besan) can create a beautiful yellow-gold colour; this can also be achieved by substituting any of the ingredients with powder of dried marigolds (gainda) and fuller’s earth (multani mitti).
Orange: Lord Krishna played Holi with tesu flowers, you can too! Dried and powdered, tesu flowers mixed with sandalwood powder give a beautiful sweet-smelling orange colour.

With the rising awareness, organic colours are easily available in the market as well. They are a tad more expensive as compared to the synthetic ones (do not get duped by the cheap ones- they are not organic, just pretending to be so) with a price range starting from  Rs. 60 to Rs. 200 per 100 gram, depending on the brand. They can also be bought online easily from sites such as craftsvilla.com, redearthindia.com and organicsansar.com.

Prevention is always an option, one that’s better than the cure, so be sure to celebrate the festival in a clean and safe manner, by not getting carried away in the fun. Prepare before-hand: oil your scalp and moisturize your skin before going out to play. Watch out for bhang in the glasses of thandai passed around if you are underage; otherwise, ask someone to keep tab on the number of glasses you down. You won’t like it when people recount the time you danced drunkenly to ‘Rang Barse’ thinking you can pass of as cool as Big B; trust me, that won’t die down. Also, water balloons- Not cool. You are no more a kid, and you know that they hurt.

This festival also sees a lot of libertinism practiced by the ‘dudes’ of the nation, who feel that a license to licentiousness has been issued to them for the day. So all the ladies of the nation, Be Vigilant and do not let anyone make you feel uncomfortable under the ruse of festive celebration.

This is one day when we let go and participate, regardless of age, gender or class differences; let’s all be enjoy the day, but also be responsible on our part. Team YKA wishes all of you a very happy and safe Holi!

You must be to comment.
  1. himanshu goel

    thanks i will try ke hum ghar mai 2 inhe rango se khele plz. don mind kya red colour mai sindoor in perfect match kya vo eyes ke liye thik raheega bcoz holi khelte waqt rang aksar aankho mai chala jata hai….

    1. NitumJ

      A good cosmetic sindoor doesn’t hurt the eyes, so go ahead and use it! Happy Holi! 🙂

  2. pooja negi

    hmm..Very good article on how to play a safe & eco-friendly holi..

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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