March 8, 2012
Phalgun Pournima, Kaliyug Varsha 5113
QUETTA, PAKISTAN: Hindu community in Quetta and some other parts of Balochistan celebrated Holi on Wednesday.
During this Hindu religious festival, people light bonfires to honour Prahlad, a devotee of the god Vishnu, who was thrown into the fire by Holika. Prahlad escaped unhurt by the blessings of Vishnu but Holika, Prahlad’s aunt, was burnt and died. After prayers and the bonfire, people celebrate by throwing colours.
People of all ages from the community were seen on the Masjid Road in the provincial capital celebrating the colourful festival. “We are enjoying the festival. There are no distinctions between caste, class, age or gender,” said Rahul Kumar, a young man whose shirt was soaked in coloured water.
When asked about increasing incidents of kidnappings in Balochistan another young man replied “please leave this topic because we have decided to enjoy this festival since such occasion comes once in a year.”
Holi was also celebrated in Naushki, Sibi, Dera Murad Jamali, Lasbela, Dadhar, Nasirabad, Mastung, Kalat and Khuzdar. The members of the Hindu community also organised religious ceremonies at their residences and temples.
It is pertinent to mention that the business-oriented Hindu community of the province announced to celebrate the festival with simplicity due to the sharp rise in kidnappings incidents, particularly targeting the traders and businessmen of the community.
According to a rough estimate, the Hindu population in Balochistan is of around 200,000 people and most of them are traders and businessmen.