Known for their lavish Holi bashes in the vicinity, this year, Navi Mumbai-based Bihar Navchetna Seva Samiti members have decided to keep celebrations low-key. Instead, the Samiti will utilise Rs 50,000 to Rs 70,000 — otherwise used for organising entertainment programmes and delectable cuisines — in purchasing and donating food grains and household utilities to the drought-affected people in the state.
Registered in 2005, the organisation has been celebrating Holi for the last eight years. Every year, members are known to order 50 kg of Gulaal from their hometown. However, this year they decided to get only five kg to keep the essence of the festival intact. Rajesh Shreevastava, founder member and convenor of the festival celebrations, said, “At a time when people in our state are facing acute water shortage, it would be selfish on our part to celebrate the festival lavishly.
Water is an important resource and should not be wasted. We have cut down on all major expenses. Generally, we spend thousands on hiring artists for our cultural programmes, but this year we are letting the children from our community exhibit their talents at the show.”
Previously, the festivities would be organised at a community hall in the satellite city. This year, a small place at Sector 20, Kharghar, has been booked for the occasion. “Festivals bring us together and so we decided not to cancel the celebration,” said Devendra Rai, president of the organisation. “We felt that it would be better to do something good for the society.”
Earlier, they spent a lot of money on food items like biryani, vegetable kurmas and salads. This year, they have planned to ask each community member to prepare something at home and bring it to the event. “The members have also shown great amount of enthusiasm and are cooperating with us wholeheartedly,” he added.
The group intends to purchase food grains and other household utilities in bulk from Vashi’s APMC market and distribute them to people living in drought-stricken villages of Maharashtra. The members are hesitant to donate cash, as they are not sure if it would be used for the good of the people. “After Holi, we will go to the villages ourselves and handover the items to the sarpanch, who can then distribute it. During our get-togethers, we will also appeal to members to donate any additional items that will benefit the villagers generously,” said Dilip Kumar Nemani, a member of the organisation.