Friday, April 16, 2021


I write this on Palm Sunday, which is a celebration of “Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in the four canonical Gospels. … Jesus went up to Jerusalem to make twin demonstrations, first against Roman imperial control over the City of Peace and, second, against Roman imperial control over the Temple of God. The Palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace and eternal life, originating in the ancient Near East and the Mediterranean world” (Wikipedia). I hope Palm Sunday was a blessed day for us and that the sentence “…Jesus went up to Jerusalem to make twin demonstrations, first against Roman imperial control over the City of Peace and, second, against Roman imperial control over the Temple of God” has significance for believers of Christ in Nagaland. Today is Holi, the festival of colours, which officially marks the arrival of Spring particularly in the Indian Sub-Continent. The significance of Palm Sunday and Holi are different yet both also signify new beginnings ~ the first, a new beginning of spiritual life and the second of temporal life, underscoring the totality of the multi-dimensionality of human existence. While Palm Sunday is a typically Christian belief and tradition, Holi is more of a celebration of the cyclical renewal of Nature by people who do not subscribe the Christian faith. But if we are open-minded enough, we can appreciate both the renewals of spiritual life and that of Mother Nature, which are fundamental to human existence, survival and sustenance. And, Heaven knows how direly we need these renewals, especially deep inside us ~ considering our wretched existence, never mind the numerous illusions we harbour of our “modern and developed” lives. Heaven further knows how direly we also need these renewals against the background of the shadow of the over-a-year pandemic under which we are besieged. With another wave of the pandemic that has started to punch us, we are now forced to cringe even more ~ for new variants of the virus have already claimed lives. This new surge of COVID cases in the recent months clearly underline that we inevitably fail to learn even from our worst experiences ~ thus perpetuate the cycle of our agony. This accentuates the need for renewals even more as we face more possible lockdowns ~ once again bringing our lives and livelihoods to a grinding halt. Celebrations are crucial for spiritual, psychological and social evolution of the human being however they should not be the reason for imprudence and negligence of human life. Last year itself we were cautioned that this pandemic would persist for a few years but as is evident now, our mindlessness to celebrate life has jeopardized human life itself. The re-introduction of SOP guidelines issued by the Nagaland Health authorities’ on November 25, 2020, should be our life-line to save ourselves from infection in our Holi celebrations today, as well as the observation of Good Friday and celebrations of Easter Sunday, in a week’s time. We know the renewing significance of religious and cultural festivals but what good are such celebrations if there is no renewal of and in our hearts and minds? We must celebrate all such festivals but we must be alive to celebrate them ~ and we know what must be done to stay alive. People cutting across faith-systems have celebrated Holi for ages and this will continue always ~ it must continue forever therefore it is all the more imperative that we find ways and means to celebrate it without jeopardizing future Holi celebrations. Beautiful is too inadequate to describe the festival of colours, not just because the colours define the vibrancy of Nature and human life but because it centre-stages and spotlights the human bond and affinity that transcends all race and religious demarcations and cultural and traditional proscriptions. Holi also emphasizes the wealth of human resource for it brings out the best of human caring, sharing and generosity ~ at the end of the day, it is human resource, used positively or negatively, that will determine our existence, survival and sustenance. It is not race, religion, culture, education or wealth and the like that brings out the best in us ~ there is a cornucopia of evidence to prove that ~ ultimately it is the humanity in us. Today let us celebrate Holi by renewing the best in us and colouring the lives of people around us.
Happy Holi!