HOLI, the festival of colours was never so natural before. Every year, it’s getting more and more natural. For many people, it is a dreadful experience to get rid of synthetic dark colours after the Holi is over. To outsmart the synthetic colours that leave a bad taste in the mouth, a project was started in Bhandara for producing Natural Colours- made of natural herbs and flowers.
The Social Forestry department of government of Maharashtra had taken up a project, at Shionibandh nursery in Bhandara district, to produce, package and sell the colours in collaboration with a Nagpur based NGO and the project was the first in the state. The move was not welcomed wholeheartedly by traditional Holi enthusiasts and the project had to roll back after transfer of ND Chaudhari, the then Deputy Director of Social Forestry Department who had served with forest department’s wildlife, FDCM and territorial wing in different capacities. Around 41 Self Help Groups of tribal people were entrusted the manufacturing of natural colours. The social forestry department played a catalyst and help in the plantation, demonstration and training.
After around a decade, the campaign to use more natural colours on Holi has gained popularity. The naturalists, NGO people and so called armchair environmentalists spread the message of natural Holi on social media every year. Naturalists’ move is to bring back the era of natural colours of ‘gulal’ or ‘abir’ or herbal extracts on the festival of colours and spreading awareness about the ill effects of the synthetic colours.
The real essence of Holi is in it’s eco-friendliness as it is celebrated to mark the arrival of Vasant, the season when Nature manifests itself through vivid colours. These colours didn’t turn out to be the crowd pullers at the Holi market but are quite popular in malls and upscale market areas. The finest quality colours are packaged attractively considering the ‘taste’ of the elite classes.
The natural colours are manufactured in two states- amorphous and liquid. Nature Conservation Society, a Nagpur based NGO has joined hands with the department for marketing of the products. These natural colours are obtained from skin friendly sources such as Palas (flame of forest) petals (Magenta colour), Bixa seed (Red), turmeric (Yellow), Indigo Fera flower extracts (Blue), Red Onion (Pink), Charcoal (Black), sandalwood, henna, besides several others.
To save our environment and conserve our bio-diversity let us make the festival of colors natural and healthy for our environment and ourselves let us celebrate this Holi Eco Friendly with Natural Colours.