The Telegraph
Saturday , March 15 , 2014
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Why green Holi is in

The message in Jamshedpur is loud and clear — have a green — read eco-friendly — Holi this year.

Colleges in the steel city organised several cultural programmes on Friday — the last working day before the festival on March 17 — to send out the message for a safe Holi while drenching in the festive spirit.

Jamshedpur Women’s College portrayed Holi as an integral part of culture. With group dances, songs and poetry recitation, the students and faculty urged the audience to use dry and eco-friendly gulal and herbal colours to celebrate the festival.

“The festival of colours is supposed to be fun. But for some, it can result in skin complications and allergies that may take days or even months to heal. In extreme cases, damage may include skin cancer or blindness. That’s why we wanted students and society as a whole to know safe ways to play Holi,” said Juhi Samarpita, a faculty of Jamshedpur Women’s College.

Similarly, Jamshedpur Workers’ College and Jamshedpur Co-operative College played Holi with dry gulal to set an example and avoid colours loaded with harmful chemicals that irritate the skin, scalp and eyes.

Individuals are also buying eco-friendly colours in bulk this Holi, said shopkeepers.

“Awareness about the harmful effects of chemical-heavy colours has increased. Nobody wants medical risks. Moreover, organic colours are not expensive as they used to be. Prices have decreased, resulting in bulk buying,” a shopkeeper said.

Some NGOs pitched in with their efforts for safe Holi, selling gulal made of floral extracts of palash and jasmine, mixed with talcum, in packets of 100gms each. These are available in shades of peach, cream, baby pink and sky blue.