The way Holi is celebrated by one and all, irrespective of their faiths, in Bhopal is a reflection of its Ganga-Jamuni culture.
The non-Hindus of Bhopal believe that Holi is not a festival of Hindus alone but instead it is a festival of colours and is meant to be celebrated by all regardless of religion and caste.
Meeting hundreds of faces of members of such families, drenched in colour on Holi, will make it difficult for anyone to differentiate between the Hindus and the Muslim revelers. Here are excerpts from our interaction with some non-Hindus of Bhopal who celebrate Holi with the same enthusiasm they celebrate other festivals.
Mullah Ji selling secular colours
Vo humse milkar khush rehte hain, hum unko rang dekar khush ho jaate hain,” said Inayat Hussain. In Jumerati area a shop named- Mullah Ji Rang Wale is a testimony that festivals are not religion specific. Owner, Inayat Hussain told Free Press that he is the third generation owner of this shop. “We are running this shop since 1952 and we have witnessed people of all religion coming to purchase gulal from our shop,” said Inayat. The special feature of this shop it sells organic colours. The gulal is made of Arrowroot powder (Ararot Powder) which does not harms skin.
Mumtaz Khan, Celebrity Fashion Designer
Bhopal is a symbol of harmony and coexistence we celebrate Holi- the festival of colours together. Even the Begums and Nawabs of Bhopal used to play Holi at their palaces. Nawab of Bhopal used to invite the Baniyas and non-Muslims to his palace and to celebrate Holi. We celebrate Eid Diwali, Christmas together then why not Holi. Holi is the festival colors so of course the hues humanity in cast creed and language must also come together on this festival. I play Holi with my family and friends. My daughter Zoya is just fond of it.
Morris Lazarus, Theater Artist
I do not take Holi as a religious festival rather I take Holi is a festival of India. There is no festival more beautiful than Holi. It is a festival for all; Holi does not differentiate between the rich and the poor. It’s not like you can’t afford to play Holi, if you are rich at heart everyone will play Holi with you. For me Holi signifies equality and happiness. It signifies burning of the evil and spreading happiness through colours.
Shawar Ali, Actor
I celebrate Holi with my friends and fellows. My friends do not make me feel like I am a Muslim and I should not play Holi, they come to my home and we enjoy. This festival is an opportunity to bury all the rivalries and start afresh. Handful of people is out there to divide us. But if you look at the bright side, people who believe in universal brotherhood far outnumber them. There is nothing more beautiful than the festival of colours.