|"HOLI the festival of colours has been a very distinct event in India since the times of Bhagat (Saint) PRAHALAD, the son of HARNAKASHYAP, who being a autocrat King, forced his countrymen to worship him, instead of GOD. The defiance of Prahalad led to many tortures given to him by the King, one of which was to be burnt alive. 'Holkan' a sister of Harnakashyap volunteered to take Prahalad into a flame of fire as she was in possession of some magical powers by which she was immune to fire. But Prahalad, with the Grace of God was spared and Holkan was destroyed by the same fire, she was not susceptible to. Since that day, this festival came into existence i.e. The Triumph of Truth over Evil.|
|Nihangs showing off their martial skills at the Hola festival at Sri Anandpur Sahib, the home of "Hola Mohalla" of Guru Gobind Singh..|
The transformation of' HOLA MOHALLA from 'Holi was first perpetuated by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Maharaj, who in A.D. 1699 created the 'Khalsa (the pure one) at Anandpur and subsequently this festival was given an uplift with the inclusion of Martial Arts as one of its salient features. Guru Ji divided his Army into two groups and made them fight mock battles -hence strengthening their military techniques and fighting abilities. During and after the Sikh Raj the 'Hola Mohalla' took a different turn. Drunkards and courtesan dances marred the holy festivities. In fact, the majority of the Sikhs were degenerated and behaved in a fashion contrary to the ideals and discipline laid down by Guru Gobind Singh. The Sikhs indulged themselves in all kinds of vices and forgot the Gurus' teachings.
This pathetic state of the Sikhs was witnessed by Satguru Ram Singh with his own eyes and after studying the downfall of the Khalsa, he came to a conclusion whereby the moral and physical character of a Sikh could be elevated. During April 1857 he baptised the Sikhs and rejuvenated the depleted Khalsa.
|Namdharis celebrating Hola|
The old 'Hola Mohalla' of Guru Gobind Singh was again re-inacted and resurrected by Satguru Ram Singh and at Anandpur the Hola Mohalla was celebrated with a record breaking attendance, where the festivities accomplished the standard of Guru Gobind Singh's time. Subsequently the festival became a very prominent item in the Namdhari World until A.D. 1872 when Satguru Ram Singh was exiled by the British to Rangoon and then to Margui
The Namdharis and the successor of Satguru Ram Singh, Satguru Hari Singh suffered the atrocities of the British, who constantly kept a strict watch on the Namdhari H. Q., the village Bhaini, and at the entrance of the residential house. The inmates of the house were searched every time they went out or came in. Satguru Partap Singil was born under these conditions of semi - captivity - hence the 'Hola' was never celebrated as a festival, until the relaxation of the British surveillance, when Guru Hari Singh after a lapse of nearly 27 years, in AD 1898 celebrated the Hola in a village in Sialkot namely Guru Chak. Since that day the 'HoIa' celebrations have been quite consistent until the present time.
The festivities of Hola are performed for a period of four days, which include all kinds of religious programmes, concerts, exhibitions etc.
As the birth anniversaries of Guru Balak Singh , the 11th Guru and Satguru Partap Singh fall near this festival, the festival is enjoyed with two more auspicious occasions by the Namdharis.
Namdharis believe in strict teetotalism. In the matter of marriage they shun the caste restrictions. People of any caste are permitted to join the Namdhari faith. Truthfullness, simplicity in thought and action, righteousness, adoption of fair and honest means of earning livlihood, giving one tenth of the income to charity, helping the poor and needy, service of fellow beings in distress, the willingness to make sacrifice for the sake of motherland are the main tenets of the Namdhari faith.
All these features are highlighted during the festival where it attracts members of all the communities as well as compatriots, who believe in equality, fraternity and world peace.
|Hola Mohalla celebrated at Sri Jivan Nagar in 1958 , where the Akali leader Master Tara Singh and other dignitaries attended in abundance.|
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Whether you are in a town or village, you must watch your step for a few days during spring. As you are strolling along without a care in the world a balloon filled with coloured water hurled down from a balcony, rooftop or corner may explode on your clothes, or suddenly an unseen hand squirt you with a well-aimed coloured-water spray. And if you are travelling by bus, it is wise to put down the shutters of the windows, otherwise without any warning you may find your clothes dyed with hues of many colours.
People playing holi
All is forgiven during Holi, for Holi is a festival
of joy, a festival to get to know each other better and wash out old grievances.
Every man, woman and child has clothes drenched in colour and faces smeared with
coloured powder. Thoroughfares are thronged with groups dancing and singing Holi
songs to the accompaniment of drums or cymbalsas they run into each other,
everyone smears gulal powder on everyone else, and hugs and embraces are exchanged.
In the lanes and bylanes coloured powder hangs like a mist and the air is full
of joyous cries:
You can witness this spectacle in
any town or village of northern India. Holi, like Diwali and Dussehra, is among
the most important Indian festivals and is celebrated all over thecountry, except
in some regions of the south. Even Indians living abroad celebrate it with enthusiasm.
It is a great leveller because on this day the old and young, rich and poor are
all regarded as equals.
A more famous episode connected with Holi is the encounter
between Prahlad and his father Hiranyakashyapu. It is said that Hiranyakashyapu
was a very powerful demon-king. In the wars between the gods and demons, Hiranyakashyapu
gained victory over the gods. This made him so haughty andarrogant that he issued
an edict forbidding his subjects from taking the name of the Supreme Deity, and
threatened to mete out harsh punishment to anyone who disobeyed him. So his subjects
turned from the worship of God to the worship of their king.
Prahlad being saved by Lord Narsimha who killed Hirankashyap
had a sister, Holika, who was blessed with special powersfire could not
burn her. Hiranyakashyapu ordered Holika to take Prahlad in her lap and mount
a burning pyre. She did so, but Prahlad came out unscathed while Holika was reduced
to ashes. It is said that Holi is celebrated and Holi fires lit in remembrance
of this miracle. A day before Holi, people start collecting logs and make piles
of them on some open ground. On Holi night they gather round the piles, beat drums,
dance and set the pyres ablaze. Children go round the fire singing:
Krishna's sporting with the milkmaids during Holi has been the theme of many songs and a voluminous mass of literature has grown round it.
of the close association of Lord Krishna with Holi the most famous celebration
of the festival takes place in Mathura and Vrindaban. Krishna's sporting with
the milkmaids during Holi has been the theme of many songs and a voluminous mass
of literature has grown round it.
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