Hindus, Muslims celebrate Lucknow’s ‘Holi Baraat’

March 11th, 2009 - 2:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, March 11 (IANS) Amid shouts of “Holi hai”, a large number of Hindus and Muslims came together here Wednesday for a 40-year-old practise of jointly celebrating the festival of colours in the old quarter.
Dancing to the beat of drums, the revellers assembled around 10 a.m. for the procession that began from the Koneshwar temple, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Lalji Tandon told IANS.

People walked for about four kilometres. “Holi baraat sets an example of communal harmony,” Tandon said.

A resident of Chowk locality, Tandon has been taking part in the function for the last 40 years.

The night before, Muslims in the area collected heaps of rose petals and garlands that were showered on Hindus as they arrived for the celebrations Wednesday, residents said.

“In response we (Hindus) garlanded them and exchanged pleasantries. This is how we have been celebrating Holi for years,” said Anurag Mishra, one of the organisers.

The procession passed through various localities of Old Lucknow as more and more people joined it.

“Throughout the route, Holi Milans were organised where sweets and special paan were offered to the revellers,” said one resident, Shabi Haider.

The multi-community procession has not been discontinued even once during the past 40 years.

“Even when there was communal tension following the demolition of the Babri Masjid (in 1992), Holi in the Chowk area was celebrated with usual gaiety and gusto,” said Ritesh Dwivedi, another resident.

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