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Holi : The iconic festival of India’s syncretic culture

‘ Hori hoye rahi hai Ahmad ge ke duwar/Hazrat Ali ke rang bano hai Hasan Husain Khilar’.( Holi is being played at the gate of Prophet Mohammad, Ali has brought colours, Husain and Hasan are playing)/ Shah Niaz

According to, Indian ethos /legend, relating Holi, to the burning of Deviless ‘Holika’ on pyre to punish her for ill will against Prahalad, her nephew and a true devotee, however, the festival, since centuries, is celebrated with gaiety and enthusiasm marking the assimilative/ syncretic culture of India. On the auspicious day, the people from different hue & cry, religions, communities indulged in feast & festivity, sprinkling of colour/Gulal amid musical exhuberance. It has become intricate in India’s traditional heritage of close interdependence of people from different backgrounds sharing one another’s sorrows and delights. The Mughals were known to be liberal and openly enjoyed Holi celebrations wherein, people splashing around in pool of coloured water in ecstatic mood. Babar used to fill up pool with coloured liquor for Holi revelers. Akbar, the great, provided beautiful squirts and syringes for splashing colours amidst sonorous music and singing. Jahangir also followed this legacy and additionally organised musical gatherings. Shajahan, named the festival as ‘Eid-e-Gulabi’ & Jashn-e-Aab-Pashi personally witnessing it from the rampart of Red Fort besides, a holy Mela using the trend of pantomimes along the bank of Jamuna. Bahadur Shah Zafar also rejoiced this Holi festival and composed an Urdu poetry ‘Hori’, meant to be sung on this particular auspicious day likewise holi celebrations were abound by Nawabs of Outh and other princely states as well.

‘ llahihai jab take ye shor o shar ho alam mien/Holi seybaqiasar’ ( O God let the festivity of Holi survive till the world does)/ Qayam

The Sufi master Nizammuddin Aulia and his beloved disciple Khusrau treated the festival as a medium to propagate the message of brotherhood, interfaith festivity for people of distinctive religions/ faiths.

i) ‘Aaj rang hai, maa ri aaj rang hai/ Morey kkhwaja ke ghar aaj rang hai/Mohey peer payo Nizamuddin aulia/Des bides mien phiri ri, tera rang bhayo nijamuddin aulia/Aaj sajan mila morey aangan mien’ ( Khusrau )

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