Bhopal: The five-day festival of Holi ended with Rang Panchami on Friday. The city, however, remained more or less deserted in view of the spike in Covid-19 cases, although Bhopalis celebrated the Festival of Colours within the closed borders of their colonies. There were no groups wandering across the city, nor were any processions taken out. Bhopal is known for the huge processions on the occasion of Rang Panchami. The devotees gather and walk across the city is huge groups playing with colours.
‘Corona spoiled everything’
Rishita Arora, a resident of Jahangirabad, told Free Press that she used to wait for Rang Panchami—especially for the procession. She said she enjoyed how water was thrown from huge tankers via pipes to drench everyone with colours. The corona pandemic had spoiled every festival, she said, adding that it was necessary to curb the virus.
Ashesh Pradhan, a resident of E3, Arera Colony, said that, although there were restrictions, people could not do away with the festivities. He, along with his group, played with colours for about two hours, said Pradhan. The group, however, remained confined to its colony, he said.
Very colourful past
The government has released an order that no procession will be taken out this year to celebrate Rang Panchami. At least four grand processions used to be taken out every year on the occasion of Rang Panchami from both Old City and New City. The processions had revellers dancing to the beats and tunes of drums and DJs, water tankers spraying water mixed with colours and machines sprinkling gulal and abir on revellers.
Ban on processions
Collector Avinash Lavaniya had said that large groups would not be allowed to roam around on the occasion. The police, however, were absent from the colonies. They had barricaded the main roads in the Old City and the market areas to prevent any unapproved processions. The police were active on the main roads and issued challans to those found violating mask or traffic rules. Shops remained open, but the main markets, including New Market and No. 10 Market were half closed.
‘Precautions are important’
The executive head of the Hindu Utsav Sameeti, Kailash Begwani, said they had had to cancel the traditional procession in view of the Covid-19 pandemic. A resident of the Mata Mandir area, Neeraj Yadav, said that, although Rang Panchami was not exactly how the city was used to celebrating, precautions were of the utmost importance. Children and youths did, however, play with colours, he said. The rest of the people enjoyed the day with a bit of gulal and a lot of colour.