Play Holi The Eco Friendly
Holi, the festival
of colours is usually celebrated in the month of phalgun. Phalgun
arrives with the promise of warm days and new life - Spring is the
season of rejuvenation and rebirth. Holi comes alive with the colours
of 'gulal'. These gulal are nowadays made from very harmful
Chemical dye. A word of caution to all holi players merits attention
here. Most of these dyes like
Green colour are obtained from
copper sulphate, which can cause Eye Allergy, Puffiness and Temporary
obtained from chromium iodide - may cause bronchial
asthma or other forms of allergy.
obtained from aluminum bromide - a known carcinogenic.
Black obtained from lead oxide - may cause renal failures
or learning disability. Red
obtained from mercury sulphite - may cause skin cancer
or Minamata disease (mental retardation, paralysis, impaired
are a result of powdered glass being added to the colours.
Dry gulals are also mixed with asbestos, silica, acids, alkalis,
pieces of glass, which not only induce skin disorders like
abrasion, irritation, itching but can impair vision, cause
respiratory problems and also cancer. So next time when you
think of playing with these colours then think twice as you
are inviting more troubles not only for yourself but also
your near and dear ones.
keep alive the spirit of holi we do have alternatives like
the "herbal gulal". THE National Botanical
Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, has transferred the know-how,
on non-exclusive basis, for the preparation of Herbal Gulal
to Shri Shyam Bihari of M/s R.B. Herbal Colour and Gulal,
Guriya Wala Pech, Hathras. The agreement to this effect was
signed on 24 November 2003 and the know-how was transferred
on 18 December 2003.
The safest alternative
to the toxic chemical dyes is the herbal dye, which has turmeric,
and other floral and herbal extracts that act as anti-oxidants and
are ultimately beneficial to the skin. Also, these are ecologically
friendly and do not harm the environment. Further, this herbal gulal
does not cause any irritation, skin allergies, respiratory problems
or damage to your vital organs. However, "The price of herbal
gulal is exorbitantly high. The said gulal was sold at Rs 200 per
kg against readily available gulal which was priced anything between
Rs 50 and Rs 80 per kg.
The more adventure
seekers can in fact go on to prepare their own colours this can
not only help in saving ones pocket but also playing holi in an
eco friendly manner. Here are some tips to create your choiceable
Mix a spoon of
powdered haldi in a cup of flour (atta / besan / maida), talcum
powder for dry yellow colour, which is also great for your skin.
Haldi powder can also be mixed in water to make a wet colour.
Use henna / mehandi
powder, separately or mixed with flour (as above).
of Beet root soaked in water for a few hours give a wonderful
Put tea or coffee
in warm water. Let it cool and use.
Put flowers of
Semul / Tesu or Palas / Dhak (trees which are common in India
and bloom during March) in water and boil. Leave overnight to
obtain a saffron colour.
Mix lime (chuna
which is put in betel leaves) with haldi powder to get a deep
you all a very happy and ecofriendly holi. Holihai!
Author: The author, Dr. Sumi Mukhopadhyay, is a Ph.D
in Science and at present working as a lecturer in the postgraduate
department of Botany in Scottish church college in Kolkata, INDIA.
She is a national scholar with outstanding performance both at graduation
and post graduation level. For the last five years and still at
present she is also actively involved in research ventures especially
in the field of Biotechnology in the prestigious Indian Institute
of chemical biology, Kolkata. During her tenure as a research fellow
she was awarded with many prestigious awards, to name a few are:
foreign travel grant from Council of Scientific and Industrial Research,
Govt of India, Department of Science & Technology, Govt of India
and Indian National Science Academy, Govt of India, to attend and
present research work at the Worldleish 3 congress, Italy 2005.She
also trained herself in the field of proteomics in, Humboldt University,
Berlin, Germany, 2005.During her tenure as a research fellow she
has over Twenty publication and presentations with many prestigious