Justice Katju: United Holi celebrations will help kill communalism

Justice Markandey Katju

Justice Markandey Katju-

(Justice Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own)

Today, 8th March, is Holi, the festival of colours, which marks the end of winter and the advent of spring in India.

Some people say that Urdu is the language of Muslims. But has Holi been described in a more beautiful manner in any language of India than in this poem of the great Urdu poet Nazir Akbarabadi (who lived after Mir and before Ghalib)?

The Mughal Emperors, the Nawabs of Avadh, and many other Muslim rulers and their Muslim subjects in India used to play Holi, and there are many paintings depicting them doing so.

But when the British came to India they started their divide and rule policy. Through the Muslim clerics on their payroll, they propagated that Holi is a festival of Hindus alone, consequent to which many Muslims stopped playing Holi.

Now the time has come when we must unite, and show to all that Holi is an Indian, not a Hindu, festival, and is a symbol of the composite culture of India, our Ganga-Jamuna tehzeeb (like Eid, which too was earlier celebrated by all).

Many Urdu poets, from the great Amir Khusro (1253-1325) to Qateel, Mir Taqi Mir, Aatish, Insha, Sahir Ludhianvi, etc, have written beautiful poems on Holi. Even the south Indian ruler Quli Qutub Shah wrote a beautiful poem on it.

The great Urdu poet Hasrat Mohani (1875-1951) has written beautiful poems on Holi, and after performing Haj he would always go to the Radha temple in Barsaana (near Mathura).

I have appealed through my Facebook page to all Pakistanis to celebrate Holi today, and many have emailed me that they will, and will send me pictures of the celebration in their towns, which I will then post on my page. I have also appealed to Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and others in other countries to do the same. It is time we crushed the poison of communalism in our country, and show to the world that we are one. United celebration of Holi will help in this process.

Happy Holi to all!

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