Heartiest greetings on the colourful occasion of Holi. We all know the importance of Holi as well as the story behind celebrating Holi as well as Holika Dehen. It dates back to very ancient history and mythology when king Hiranyakashayp ordered his son Prahlad to be burnt who was a devotee of Lord Vishnu. Hiranyakashyap’s sister Holika consented to accompany Prahlad in the fire as she had a blessing that no fire could ever burn her so as to ensure his demise. Holika sat on pyre with Prahalad. Holika burnt alive while Prahalad was saved by the Lord.
But now-a-days we are going far away from our roots, our culture. The traditions have either become a formality, or a commercial venture, or rather an extinct or endangered culture. In deep thoughts about the same, I visited a small village/rural area to find out if the culture still alive, and to my surprise, yes it was.
The place I visited was a developing rural area in the interiors of the village Shobhagpura in Udaipur. This remote area witnessed the concrete roads for the first time just before few months. Here all the villagers and other people live in true harmony. I was welcomed by Mr. Gopal Prasad, an independent journalist, who has settled here in search of peace.
It was about 7.15 in the evening; small girls were seen making rangolis near the location. Village ladies and housewives were seen worshipping the structure. Slowly the crowd started to gather, and as happens every year, the worship and rituals were performed by the eldest person living in the village, who fired up the Holika.
In next few minutes the entire area was filled with light and heat of the huge fire. Mr. Gopal informed that the villagers offer a share of the new harvest of wheat to the fire, and the roasted wheat grains so obtained is distributed to all as the Prasad. Any newborn baby is also made to revolve around the holy fire. It is believed that all the evil forces are burnt away with the fire and the spirit becomes pure and clean.
Finally I was happy on my way back home. All i was taking along with me was not only the roasted wheat grains, but were memories, a warm, friendly welcome at the village, more knowledge about our cultures, and an entirely different Holi to remember for the lifetime.