Sunday, April 07, 2013

Ganga Mela: A unique Holi celebration

Life in a Non Metro-3


When  for the  rest of India  Holi, the festival of colours, is a thing of bygone week and celebrations and Gujhiyas ( a sweet) are over, Kanpur is ready for the second round of  Holi  on Ganga Mela, with more fervor and enthusiasm.

Ganga Mela falls on Anuradha nakshtra, which is three to seven days after Holi.This Holi doesn't have the colour of mythology but of nationalism. The objects of worship are not our Gods but the heros of  National Movement for freedom during Quit India Movement.


During The Quit India Movement (1942) the freedom fighters  hoisted the tricolour on the day of Holi, declaring India free. It infuriated the British administration and the freedom fighters Ghulab Chand Seth, Hamid Khan, Shyam Lal Gupta (lyricist of ‘Jhanda uncha rahe hamara’), Amrik Singh, Raghubar Dayal Bhatt, Bal Kishan Sharma, Pitambar Lal and many more were arrested. 


The city which had witnessed Mutiny of 1857 was furious. People stopped playing Holi and demanded the release of all the freedom fighters. Seeing the protest, the British had to release them. The day of release coincided with the planetary position called Anuradha Nakshatra. Overjoyed people of Kanpur celebrated the festival the whole day and in the evening met at Sarsaiyya Ghat, on the banks of holy Ganges. The tradition is still followed with the spirit of patriotism.

The Campus I live in, has nothing common with the city it belongs to. When we came to Kanpur to settle down I didn't know about this post Holi celebration. It was just a bonus holiday for me, a working mom of two school going kids. But now I feel like urging the people to smear a little Gulal (colour) and take a dip in the ganga on my behalf too, as I salute all the heroes of our freedom struggle.
Sarsaiyya Ghat, Kanpur.

11 comments:

Ekta said...

Good to see a post after a long time.

vandy said...

Hi Ekta :)

Maitreyi Agarwal said...

informative and well written article!
liked it very much.. :)

Soumya said...

I hadn't known about this unique celebration. Unforgettable moments of the struggle for freedom from British rule.....

vandy said...

Thanks Maits, welcome to my blog :)

saumya,Kanpur is full of such stories. Visited Bithoor sometimes back and came to know that Rani lakshi Bai grew up and learnt all the skills there. Though her house/mansion was no where to be seen.



R. Ramesh said...

very good post and i luv the pic yar..tc best wishes

vandy said...

Thanks saar :)
rgds.

Manish said...

That is a very good and informative historical account about the reasons behind this celebration. No Kanpuriya ever told me that :-)

Yet, let me warn you. Please do not find yourself anywhere around near Nayi Sadak on this day. Many unaware IIT-Kanpurites while returning from mid-semester break got stuck in the celebration over there. People are pulled down from their rikshaw, and they don't apply colours. They use geyrua, paints etc to colour people and worse - their clothes.

I was lucky to escape once :-)

vandy said...

yeah many ppl warned me against it, but some presented a very rosy picture too, specially the newspapers. ppl from different castes( vaishya samaj etc represent their community. Cultural programmes were held at sarsayyia ghat.In the newspaper pics crowd was also decent.
I hope that one day things wd be better and the occasion wd be enjoyed by more and more ppl.



Rohit Omar said...

Glad to find a fellow Kanpurite with similar inclination towards creative writing & Kanpur. I am a debutante author and would love to get in touch with you. Looking forward to your revert :)

vandy said...

Hi Rohit, nice to see your comment.Glad to connect. Will read your blog, there seems to be a lot of material. :)