Why I Refuse To Be A Part Of Holi This Year

Posted on March 23, 2016 in Society

By Pooja Salvi:

holi_dry land
Source: Flickr/Antoine Collet and Pison Jaujip.

The other day, I came across this Quora post on why everyone should celebrate Holi. And I liked the walk down mythology lane quite a bit — after all, getting to know about mythology is like a nice history lesson. However, all this aside, there is nothing about Holi that makes me want to celebrate it, and I have my reasons for the decision.

Don’t get me wrong. I have had my share of colourful fun when I was young. I used to wake up really early in the morning on Holi-days and prepare buckets full of water balloons, buy colours a week in advance because they got sold out easily — I did everything children do when they are excited to play Holi. And why not, it is a damn celebration of colours, our cultures, forgetting prejudices of religion and caste (gender, even) and getting together for merrymaking. However, that is not where my concern lies.

The Water Disaster

Living in Mumbai all my life and belonging to a decent middle-class family that can make ends meet with ease, I can say that I have never really experienced a shortage of water. Yes, at the moment, Mumbai does face (a more than just occasional) water shortage issue. But I haven’t ever been at a place where there is a scarcity of water… Yet.

The state of Maharashtra is huge. And there are a number of villages that do not have access to basic drinking water, let alone water for the sole purpose of merriment. You know, you call for tankers personally when there isn’t enough water for the entire building — yes, you do that because you are financially capable. But, people living in the distant lands of Maharashtra, lands you have never even heard of, are not.

The ‘Amrit’

Earlier this month, the Devendra Fadnavis government set stricter norms for the district collectors to allow water in dams solely for drinking purposes and not for agriculture or industries. The water regulation policy is expected from collectors for the eight districts of Marathwada. In fact, the drinking water shortage is so horrible that some men in distant villages are marrying what are being called ‘water wives‘ — wives who ensure that there is water available in the home at all times. These people are suffering the serious consequences of the critical shortage of consumable water in the state.

Do you still think you are at liberty to waste water in your metropolitan cities with your power to buy more of it?