Why Holi is celebrated in India? Does it cause wastage of water?

It is Phalgun – the month that Kama & Rati love the most. Kama & Rati? The Indian Cupid couple – the Gods of Spring & love. Poems after poems have been written in Bharat about the Spring and about how it is the most beautiful season. It is also the season when Kama was burnt down by Shiva through His third eye, for disturbing His ‘tapasya’. For those who don’t know, that day is celebrated as ‘Holi’. Of course there are other reasons for celebrating Holi too, but that on another day …

For secularists, communists and those wanting to talk bad about Hindu festivals, this is a very busy month. Why? Holi … that’s why. This is that special day when the Hindu rituals, festivals, etc. are discussed in the most negative way, through Whatsapp, Facebook and Twitter posts. How? Very simple … talk about how people are dying for lack of water, farmers are crying that there is no water for their crops, birds and animals are falling dead in the scorching heat BUT Hindus having scant regard for all this, waste water on Holi just to enjoy. Not just that, thousands of people end up with damaged skin and eyes or even skin cancer because of the Colours used on Holi. How Cruel and Stupid! Utterly Pagan and Superstitious!

Have readers ever wondered that probably Hinduism is the only religion where festivals are celebrated with ONLY JOY. None of our festivals involve killing of animals, or destruction of Nature, per se. Yes, in Holi or Lohri, wood is used, but the tree is not cut down for that … only its branches are supposed to be used & new branches grow soon after on the tree, because it is spring, the season of new growth. All our festivals celebrate life – be it Holi, Dussera, Diwali, Ram Navami, Janmashtami, or even Guru Parab, Mahavir Jayanti or Buddha Purnima. The food consumed is supposed to be Sattvik, houses are the self are supposed to be cleaned and guests are to be welcomed. Obviously God & Guru in some form or the other are also welcomed and given a seat of respect during these festivals. The best part is that children enjoy the most because the nature of the festival itself is such that children are automatically drawn towards it.

But obviously water is wasted & the fear of ill-effects of colours during Holi is real, isn’t it? NO! For those complaining about the colours, yes, there are colours which are mixed with harmful chemicals available in the market. But what is needed is that the Government crack down upon such colours and make rules to make them safe for use. Till then, one can use herbal based colours or just plain water. One can donate safe colours to children of the poorer section of society so that they too don’t suffer. If traders realize that only herbal based colours are in demand, they will automatically stock only those colours. In any case, they are not too expensive at all. But what about wastage of Water? Let’s see how these hypocrites do not make a sound when water is actually wasted…


For all those crying hoarse about the water wastage and harmful chemicals, I would only like to ask one question – Have you ever thought about the lakhs of litres of water that Soft Drinks companies purchase for a pittance, then mix it with harmful chemicals and colours and then sell it at outrageous rates for us Indians to drink and ruin our health? 600 of the approximately 1200 bottling water plants are in Tamil Nadu, the State which has constant water problems and legal fights with neighboring Karnataka State. As per a report of 2015, Carbonates sales was about 3 million litres & bottled water sales was about 12 million litres. Now whether you believe it or not, the cost of water per litre to these companies is less than 20 paise. YES!!! In Kerala, the Perumatty Village Council gave a licence to the company to commence production in 2000. Coca Cola drew around 510,000 litres of water each day from boreholes and open wells.

For every 3.75 litres of water used by the plant, it produced one litre of product and a large amount of waste water. In 2003 Indian journalist Arjun Sen wrote in the Statesman : Three years ago, the little patch of land in the green, picturesque rolling hills of Palakkad yielded 50 sacks of rice and 1,500 coconuts a year. It provided work for dozens of labourers. Then Coke arrived and built a 40-acre bottling plant nearby. In his last harvest, Shahul Hameed, owner of a smallholding, could manage only five sacks of rice and just 200 coconuts. His irrigation wells have run dry, thanks to Coke drawing up to 1.5 million litres of water daily through its deep wells to bottle Coke, Fanta, Sprite, and the drink the locals call without irony, “Thumbs Up.” Readers should know that in the late 1990s the average cost of industrial water in the U.S. was about five dollars per 10,000 litres, whereas in India the price was a mere three cents. The Kerala State Government put a case against Coca Cola against ground water use and pollution, but it is still pending in the Supreme Court.

Another interesting fact:


As per Brahma Chellaney, strategic expert and noted author ‘Meat production is about ten times more water-intensive than plant-based calories and proteins, with one kilogram of beef, for example, requiring 15,415 litres of water. Meat consumption actually leads to more greenhouse-gas emissions annually than the use of cars does. Indeed, beef production requires, on average, 28 times more land and 11 times more water than the other livestock categories, while producing five times more greenhouse-gas emissions and six times more reactive nitrogen.’ So why then don’t these apologists talk about stopping Cow Slaughter instead of stopping us from enjoying Holi?


Some simple steps taken can keep you cool this summer and save you some money too. Playing Holi & wasting water on one day will not sit heavy on your conscience then…

  • Drink Coconut water instead of soft drinks. They are healthier & help the farmers who grow them.
  • Drink Lemon juice or Shikanji instead of bottled water or soft drinks. This is tastier and will replenish valuable salts in your body. Even at room temperature, this is tasty.
  • Remember to drink more liquids throughout the day and have lesser solids. The secret to a leaner, healthier body is a half full stomach during summers.
  • Stop drinking poisonous soft drinks … they make profits by depleting our ground water & ruin our health too. Also, most of the profits are shipped abroad. If you want to have soft drinks, go for local brands. They are cheaper too.
  • Best is to store water in mud pots (matkas) or in silver vessels and have them. They are cooling to the body. Do not have water from Copper vessels in summer (since copper heats up the body).
  • During Holi, please use safe herbal based colours. Better still make the colours at home with Haldi (Turmeric for Yellow), Lime + Haldi + Ghee (for Red colour), use ‘flame of the forest’ flowers (for Orange), beetroot (for Pink), tea/coffee (for brown).
  • One traditional way to play Holi is to take a bath with COW DUNG (Gobar Snaan). While it may sound a bit weird or a bit horrible even, it is a very refreshing way to purify oneself. People with skin diseases or bone problems do this routinely in some Goushalas.

So friends, go ahead and have a wonderful Holi & if anyone tries to make you feel guilty, forward them this blog 😀

Jai Hind !!!

Rati Hegde