Subdued Rangapanchami in Hubballi

Though security restrictions used to be in force earlier, they never ever dampened the festive spirit

The scare of a second wave of COVID-19 and restrictions imposed by the police as a precautionary measure, including prohibitory orders banning processions, resulted in subdued celebrations of Rangapanchami in Hubballi on Thursday.

What otherwise would have been a riot of colours, resulting in the city getting soaked in myriad colours and music reverberating in the air, turned out to be a restricted celebration albeit with gaiety and revelry. Rangapanchami is celebrated on the fifth day after the Holi festival in Hubballi.

Every year, though security restrictions and prohibitory orders would be in force in a few localities, they never used to dampen the festival spirit. However, the COVID-19 scare coupled with an appeal by the local authorities to keep the celebrations simple and limited had had an impact this time.

Like last year, the authorities had not given permission for rain dance set-ups and police patrol vehicles visited all localities repeating the appeal for simple Holi celebrations at home and for people not to congregate at one place.

Apart from barricades, the police deployed at various localities kept asking the people not to roam around in groups and to celebrate Holi in front of their respective houses.

However, amid restrictions, revellers had their moments of celebrations and youngsters moved around on their two-wheelers although in reduced numbers applying coloured power to their acquaintances. It was the children who enjoyed Holi a lot this time as they had ample space to play around. Armed with pitchkaris and water balloons, they conducted target practice on every passer-by whether on vehicle or on foot. However, in the narrow streets of Kamaripet the practice of pouring bucket full of water over passers-by continued unabated.

In the absence of permission for DJ music, some youngsters brought out the traditional drums, blew trumpets and danced to their hearts content. In view of the reduced participation, some of the busy roads in the central business district of the city had thin vehicular movement, making one wonder whether it was Rangapanchami at all in Hubballi. Like last year, residential localities and extension areas did not witness much celebrations with many parents not sending out their children.

Compared to last year, the celebrations in the extension areas did not see much crowd because of the coronavirus scare.

Meanwhile, senior citizens had their share of enjoyment and they too played holi near parks and places of worship.

The practice of Muslims joining the Holi procession did not happen this year due to a ban on processions. However, many members of the Muslim community took part in the celebrations with their Hindu friends and acquaintances in some localities.

As usual, the police personnel too got drenched in colours. Scenes of revellers approaching police personnel on duty and applying colours to them were common. With the police banning processions, the usual practice of carrying idols of Kamanna (Lord Manmatha) was not seen this time. However, men and women took part in rituals pertaining to the Kamadahana (burning Kamanna in effigy). But they were requested to immediately return home after the effigies were set on fire.

Police sources said that the celebrations concluded peacefully late in the evening.

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