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Friday, February 23, 2024

Bollywood actress Kajol wishes ‘safe’ Holi, and advises to ‘save water’

Come any Hindu festival and we see a slew of conditional greeting from our celebrities. Why conditional? Well, unlike greetings for festivals of other communities like Eid, Christmas, there is usually a rider attached to Hindu festival greetings, a social message which is knowingly/unknowingly designed to trigger guilt or a sense of shame.

Bollywood celebrity Kajol ensured that the tradition of preaching to Hindus on their festivals is maintained. This is the video message Kajol tweeted (archive link, video archive) today on Holi:

Kajol’s message: “Wishing everyone a very very happy Holi, and safe Holi, most importantly. So save water, and play holi with whatever you feel like, but have a happy, safe Holi” (emphasis added)

Firstly, how do you ‘save water’ and celebrate Holi!? Hindu kids wait the entire year for that one day when they can splash water on each other, drench their friends with pichkaris, and killjoy Kajol wants them to ‘save water’. Really? Even if each child in a housing society is consuming 3-4 buckets of water on this one day, does it really add up to such a big amount?

Can Kajol give an account of the water consumed in the upkeep of her luxury Juhu bungalow, lavish house in London, private jet, and fleet of luxury cars? Or how much water is consumed by the luxury resorts she and her globe-trotting family visit ever so often like this, this, this, this. It is estimated that 5-star hotels in Delhi consume up to 2400 ltr of water per guest per night. That is 120 large buckets of water – enough for 30 kids to play holi with!

The narrative around water being ‘wasted’ on Holi is the same as that we see when crackers are blamed for Delhi’s annual air pollution problem despite scientific data comprehensively proving that other factors like vehicular pollution, stubble burning, construction etc. are the real cause.

The point is not to begrudge Kajol and her family’s lifestyle. She and her husband have earned their wealth legally and pay taxes. Dharma appreciates wealth creators who contribute to making society prosperous. Dharma also teaching conscious and responsible living – that responsibility to be more environmentally conscious and avoid any wastage lies on each one of us. But it is thoughtless and tacky for rich folks to lecture the masses on ‘resource conservation’ during festival time. If you are truly a committed activist for the environment, then speak consistently on all occasions and walk the talk in your private life.

Also, what is so ‘unsafe’ about Holi that Kajol has to explicitly wish a ‘safe Holi’, that too ‘most importantly’? Holi is as safe as any other community celebration we do with friends and family.

Have you heard anyone wishing ‘have a safe Eid’ or ‘save electricity this Christmas’? Eid involves slaughter of animals in the open, often with minors watching in horror. The Ramzan fasting that is broken daily with lavish feasts leads to increase in binge eating and a slew of disorders. Shab-e-Barat sees Muslim youth on bikes perform dangerous stunts and terrorize other motorists. Christmas sees entire towns being decked up in decorative lights – one study found that American household Christmas lights use up more electricity than some poorer countries, such as El Salvador or Ethiopia, do in a year. The number of trees cut on Christmas each year in the West is astonishing.

But do our celebrities harp on these not-so-pretty sides of non-Hindu festivals?

Or is Kajol hinting at the slanderous association of Holi as an occasion to grope women? Yes, such unwanted incidents do happen, albeit on a far less scale than Hinduphobes would have you believe. But, will Kajol have the courage to admit how this desecration/commodification of a wonderful festival came to be. Of the role her own industry has played in this nod-and-wink approval for anti-social behavior and debauched ‘celebration’?

Or how elites like Times Group’s Vineet Jain promote debauched ‘Holi parties’? Will Kajol have the guts to admit what the antidote is to reclaim Holi fully from these distortions: instilling Dharmic values in school going children and society in general? But then, that would mean ‘saffronization’ and invite censure from Kajol’s psuedo-intellectual friend Twinkle Khanna, no?

Maybe we are ascribing too much agency to ordinary celebs. These people are as conditioned by our country’s anti-Hindu intelligentsia as the average corporate professional.

As Hindus awaken from decades of secularism-induced coma, they are beginning to recognize these patterns and double standards. Virat Kohli received a severe backlash last year for his preachy Diwali ‘greeting’. Maybe due to that spontaneous public reaction, his greeting on Holi this year was free of virtue signaling and markedly different from past years when he too was stuck in the ‘save water’ mould. For that matter, even current captain Rohit Sharma has in the past issued Holi ‘greetings’ with a focus on ‘save water’ and even ‘protect pets’ (usually this one is heard around Diwali) tropes. The virtue-signaling disease is widespread, and possibly a function of the woke crowd which dominates marketing and PR fields.

This year, however, there seems to be a marked reduction in the usual Hinduphobic narrative that gets launched before Holi. Its possible the left-liberal-secular gang is so stunned by the reception The Kashmir Files is getting that they forgot their annual Hindu-bashing exercise!

Kajol’s Holi ‘greeting’ invited some pithy reactions from netizens:

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