[pullquote]• Gokashth (fossilised cow dung) in Holika fire to save wood in Bhopal and other places in Madhya Pradesh
• It’s bhadra (inauspicious time) till 8:36 PM
• Holika bonfire to take place when the auspicious time arrives[/pullquote]
Bhopal: In Madhya Pradesh, preparations are on to replace wood with gokashth for the Holika bonfire that is conducted the night before Holi. Gokashth refers to cow dung cakes or fossilised cow dung. It is gau kashtha in Sanskrit. Some environment-conscious Hindus hit upon this idea in Bhopal to conserve the ecology where plants play a special role.
At thousands of places across the State, including the capital, the sale of firewood for Holika has seen a drastic drop. The organisers of Holika bonfire wish to send a message of saving the environment by lighting cow dung boards. More than 50 places in Bhopal will witness the Holika bonfire made of gokashth.
Holi Utsav Samitis will use coconut and straw in many places to prevent environmental protection and deforestation. On Tuesday, huge crowds were seen buying gokashth from shops in the city offering this fuel.
An outfit called the Gokashth Samvardhan evam Paryavaran Sanrakshan Samiti has established centres to sell cow dung cakes and boards for the Holika celebration. These centres are located at Platinum Plaza near the Mata Temple, Kali Mandir, Kamdhenu Complex near Mangalwara Jain Temple, Mandakini Ground Sadhashram, Timber Market Chhola Road etc.
The committee and the forest department have together been running the retail counters at several places since the morning of Wednesday.
Holika with gokashth in other cities of MP too
Comprehensive preparations for the Holika combustion are being done in cities in a number of places. Holika combustion sites are being decorated with flags and flowers. The burning of the Holika will continue till late in the night.
Pt. Ramjiwan Dubey, Pt. Vishnu Rajauria and astrologer Anjana Gupta told journalists that combustion of Holika using fossilised cow dung would result in the purification of the environment. There are several Hindu rituals where purification is done only by cow dung.
Bhadra yoga ends at 8:36 PM
Starting from Wednesday evening, more than 1,500 places in the city will observe the Holika Dahan, which will last till late in the night. Statues of Holika and devotee Prahlada will be kept on many intersections. Later, Holika effigies will be retained while removing Prahlada’s statues. This act commemorates the story in the Purana where King Hiranyakashipu had conspired to kill his son for the devotion of the latter to Vishnu. Hiranyakashipu’s sister Holika enjoyed a boon by Brahma that she could not be killed by fire. So, the king told his sister to sit with Prahlada in her lap. However, the boon did not work. Prahlada was saved while Holika burned to ashes.
According to scholars, the bhadrakala yoga will end at 8:36 PM. On Thursday, Dayanand Chowk, Nehru Nagar, Bairagarh, Bhel and Kolar etc will witness processions of hurriyars and huriyarins (Holi revellers). This time, they will sing devotional songs too.
Various social organisations have urged everyone to celebrate Holi with goodwill, observing the festival with restraint amid the excitement.
Campaign for ideal Holika Dahan
Convener of the Yuva Hindu Hindu Festival Committee Mukesh Rai said that, as a result of the public awareness campaigns run by the committee, festive committees at various places will use cow dung cakes and boards and dried leaves for the bonfire. “This will be an ideal Holika combustion festival,” Rai said.
Children to join conservation movement
Kiran Sharma, chief of the organisation’s positive thinking, told that the children here will combust the Holika made of gokashth at the Milkha Singh Ground in Kalpana Nagar. Cleanliness will also be taken care of at the site.
Ramesh Nagar, a member of the All-India Gayatri family, said that, at various places including the Gayatri Shaktipeeth, people will ignite the Holika made of gokashth.
The Holi festival is being celebrated by the institution as an Ashlilta Nivaran Divas (obscenity prevention day). Literature and films of adult sex will be consigned to the Holika fire, Nagar informed.
No trouble for commuters
Many Hindu organisations have appealed to festival committees to ensure that the Holika combustion is done safely. For this, they have urged the organisers to not combust the Holika between power lines or let the debris and ashes tumble onto the roads, which would hamper normal vehicular traffic movement.
Pomp and show
Hindu Festival Committee chairman Kailash Begwani said that the function will begin at 9 AM on Thursday at the Dayanand Chowk. Dharmadhvaja, band, dhol and Phag song mandalis (troupes that sing songs of Holi in the Indian month of Phagun) will be some of the attractions of the procession.