Saturday, March 24, 2001
M A I L  B O X

Celebrating the colours of Holi

OP BHAGATíS article "Celebrating the colours of Holi" (March 3) was an interesting essay on the great festival of colours which heralds the approach of summer. In India the spring season is supposed to begin with Basant Panchami and is in full swing during Holi. The festival falls during the solar month of Phagun (February-March) but its exact date is calculated according to the lunar calendar and the festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the lunar month, the day preceding the full moon night.

Holi is the festival of spring equinox: The day on which the festival falls and the night following it are equal in length, being twelve hours each. The climate is moderate. The trees are laden with flowers. The brown earth basking in the warm sun seems to be full of new life, and in the fields young wheat stalks bend under the weight of the grain.

The author relates several stories centring round the origin of the festival all illustrating the triumph of good over evil. Holi is celebrated differently in different parts of the country. In some parts the image of Krishna is placed on a swing cradle and worshipped by men, women and children. In many parts of India bonfires are lit and wheat cakes stuffed with gram and sugar are thrown into the fire. In Western India, village people dance in the streets and open fields and sing melodious songs especially composed for the occasion. In Chennai mock fights are held between men and women. In many villages of northern India a game closely resembling kabaddi is played in which both men and women participate.

On this day there is much rejoicing everywhere. People patrol the streets carrying dry colours and jars of coloured water. The more timid who try to escape are pursued and jeered at. Holi has a prototype in Carnival, an ancient festival which is still celebrated in France, Italy, Spain and many other countries of Europe.


Life after death

This refers to the article "Believe it or not ó the truth about life after" by Suneet Kaur (March 3) in which the writer has pointed out that the soul lives on even after death.

Almost all our scriptures and schools of spiritual thought emphasise the fact that it is only the physical entity ó the body ó that dies and that the soul is indestructible, beyond mortal limitations and is immortal. Naturally, if the soul is a part of the supreme power, just a spark of the ultimate energy, it cannot be destroyed. It might be reincarnates in another body. However, it is a bit difficult to digest the line of thought that the souls actually paint, have tea, produce the plays or that the material world or their habitation is an exact replica of this world.

The souls might be living hereafter, and most probably they do, but it is the super energy in them that makes it possible for them to survive physical destruction. As souls, it might not be necessary for them to breathe oxygen for survival. That is only our physical need according to our physical characteristics. Moreover, who might be growing tea there? Who might have made so much technical development there as to make the production of movies a possibility? It is possible that the other world might be very different from this one, or that it might actually be tremendously more developed than this one. We canít actually know all the details, we can only speculate.



The writer says that every person has a soul which remains alive even after death. It was quite unnerving to read that the soul meets its departed relatives and friends in heaven. This has not been proved scientifically.

I donít understand how the tape-recordings of dead persons were obtained or how it is possible to converse with the dead. The author is right when he says that one should do good in this world in order to achieve happiness and joy in the other world, if there is one.



The article made incredible but interesting reading. Actually the truth about life after death is shrouded in mystery. Soul, which is believed to be immortal and is said to reside in the mortal body of man, is an abstract entity. It cannot be seen, touched or felt. So what becomes of it after it leaves the body cannot be ascertained. According to Hindu philosophy, as soon as the soul leaves the body of a person who dies, it enters the first object, creature or animal it sees.

I agree with the writer that we should try our best to make the most of this life so as to attain peace and joy not only in the other world but also in this world. Man is not known for the years he spends on this earth but for the deeds he does. So one should conduct oneself truthfully, honestly and sincerely.

No one knows what lies in store for us in the other world and we should not bother about it. We should make optimum use of this life for the uplift of humanity.


Lessons that companies teach

This refers to Aradhika Sekhonís article "Lessons that companies teach" (March 3). It is rather sad that companies are marketing their goods in schools with the full cooperation of school authorities. It is pity that these companies have been encroaching upon the time of students. This practice must be stopped. I appeal to all school authorities to not let their premises be used for commercial purposes.



I was both enlightened and shocked to read that now marketing companies send their men to schools to push the sales of their products. Marketing and education cannot go together. Schools cannot be reduced to market places.


Robes of honour

The Punjab Police Academy has taken a praiseworthy initiative by introducing post-graduation and doctorate degrees in police administration.

Academics provide motivation and keep the spirit of service alive. It also adds to oneís social standing and status. Other government departments should also follow suit and encourage their officials to go in for such academic pursuits.