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30. RELIGIOUS FESTIVALS
Holi
I have no doubt in my mind that a religious ceremony like Holi should never be marked by wild revelry, but by a disciplined effort to put oneself in communion with God.
There was a time when the Hindus and Musamans lived side by side as peaceful neighbours. If things have today come to such a pass that they cannot look upon one another as friends, they may at least not behave as enemies. There is fear among the Musalmans that the occasion of Holi may be marked by renewed attack upon them. It is surprising that I am hearing what I had heard from the Hindus in Naokhali and Tipperah, and I feel ashamed to have to listen to the same tales in Patna as in Naokhali. I shall therefore venture to say to my Muslim brothers in Bihar what I have said to the Hindus in Naokholi, viz., that they should shed all fear of man and trust God; but I know that it is a counsel of perfection.
I want everyone to celebrate Holi in such a manner that every single Muslim feels that the Hindus have not only repented for what has been done to them, but have also gathered love for them to an extent which out did their previous sentiments. If Holi is marked by this revival of the old friendly relations, then, indeed, it will be a truly religious celebration.
It is not enough that the Hindus should express lip repentance or compensate the sufferers, by means of money. What is really needed is that their hearts should become pure and, in place of hatred or indifference which is sweeping over them, love should reign so that under its glow every single Muslim man, woman and child feels perfectly secure and free to pursue his or her own religious without the least let or hindrance. Let us all, I pray, make Holi an occasion for the initiation of this relation between two sister communities.

Dussehra
I would remind you of the origin of the Dussehra festival. It is to commemorate the victory of Rama over Ravan. Durga Puja means worship of the all-pervading shakti. The ten days are followed by Bharat Milap. All this connotes self restraint, not lenience. The nine days are the days of fasting and prayer. My mother used to fast during these nine days. We, her children were taught to practice as much abstinence as we could. Are we to celebrate the sacred by killing and harassing our brothers? Shed all enmity and bitterness on the occasion of these festivals.

No Festivities During Distress
A sister who is a refugee writes:
The question whether we should or should not celebrate Diwali as festival agitates most of us. I wish to put before you our thoughts on the question, no matter how lisping my Hindi words may be. I am refugee from Gujranwala. I have lost my all in that place. Nevertheless, our hearts are full of joy that after all we have our independence. This will be the first Diwali in independent India. Therefore, it behooves us to forget all our sorrows and wish to have illuminations throughout India. I know that your heart is sore over our suffering and you would have all India to abstain from the rejoicings. We are thankful for your sympathy. Not withstanding the fact that your heart is full of sorrow, I would like you to tell the refugees and the rest of India that they should rejoice during the festival and ask the moneyed men to help those who are without means. May God Almighty give us the wisdom to rejoice over all the festivities the might come to us after independence.
Whilst I admire the sister and others like her, I cannot help saying that she and those who think like he rare wrong. It is well known that a family which is overtaken by sorrow abstains from participation in festivities according to capacity. It is illustration of the doctrine of oneness on a very limited scale.
We must not be self-centered or, being falsely sentimental, ignore facts. My advice to abstain from the rejoicing is broad based on many solid considerations. The refugee problem is there, affecting lakhs of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs. There is as well want of food and clothing. The deeper cause is dishonesty of the many who can mould public opinion, obstinate refusal of suffers to learn from their sufferings and extensive inhumanity of man to man. I can see in this misery no cause for joy. A resolute and wise refusal to take part in festivities will be an incentive to introjections and self purification. Let us not do anything which will throw away a blessing which has been won after hard toil and tribulation.