KARACHI: As members of the Hindu community celebrated the happy and colourful festival of Holi in the big ground behind the Shri Swaminarayan Mandir on Thursday, a group of students formed a human chain around the temple to demonstrate solidarity with their Hindu brothers and sisters and provide them security in the wake of continuous attacks on the places of worship of minorities.
The students, who belonged to the National Students Federation (NSF), were of the opinion that the state may have failed to put a stop to such inhumane attacks but the ordinary citizens won’t give up fighting for their fellow citizens.
Fawad Hassan, NSF’s general secretary for Karachi, said that it was high time that people stopped investing their hope in the state authorities as they had let them down too many times. “More than 60,000 innocent people have lost their lives due to such failures of the state. Still, all is not lost because we have to take care of each other,” he said.
Meanwhile, when the festival was on in full swing, it was being announced that whoever was worried about getting their clothes ruined by colour should kindly step outside the ground as inside no one was going to take responsibility for anyone’s washing or dry-cleaning bills. Everyone inside was having pure fun colouring each other’s cheeks green, yellow, pink, red and blue and spraying colour on their clothes. “Holi hai!” They’d say while justifying the action.
Dressed in a pretty orange saree with a gold border, Mrs Veena A. Malani, who had specially come down from Mithi in Tharparkar for the occasion, said that it didn’t matter even if her pretty clothes got drenched in colour. “We are all here to play Holi and have fun. Besides, the colours are not the stubborn or permanent chemical ones. These wash off quite easily. And even if they didn’t, they will carry the colour of beautiful memories we make today,” she smiled.
From New Town Karachi, Bhavita Kumari was trying to get her 10-month-old son Tushar feel the excitement of the occasion but the baby just looked around him with big wide open eyes brimming with tears as his older sister Parchin sprayed blue colour with her colour pump on everyone. Other children with coloured faces and lots of glitter on their faces and hair ran around chasing each other.
Just then the loud Hindi movie songs playing in the background had to be stopped for an important announcement. It was announced that a five-year-old boy wearing a green T-shirt was missing and anyone who found him was to return him to the temple office. But the temple staff had a big challenge on their hands as who knew what colour his shirt or he himself would have become by that time!