The Coronavirus (COVID-19) scare has affected trade and celebrations of Doljatra and Holi across the country this year. With political parties avoiding big meetings and people in general avoiding large gatherings, along with a section of people avoiding the purchase of Chinese goods such as water guns and other accessories (like wigs and masks) this year, Doljatra and Holi is off-colour for sure.
The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) said that nearly Rs. 500 crore of Holi-related Chinese goods are lying with traders of Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Chennai while around Rs. 3,000 crore goods are lying in the supply chain across the country.
Shopkeepers said that though that they are not selling colours brought in from China, buyers fear that there may be such a possibility. It is due to the fear that people are generally avoiding goods from China, even though traders say that even goods imported from China had been done much before outbreak of COVID-19 there.
Doljatra and Holi gatherings in several places have been cancelled to avoid large gatherings of people which is said to spread the contagious disease. The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKON) has issued advisory to all its temples across India including the one in Bengal’s Nadia, to cancel the visit of foreign devotees in Dol or Holi celebrations this year.
The Visva Bharati University in Bengal has cancelled its age-old Basanta Utsab celebration this year.
Holi celebrations in Mathura, where traditionally Holi is a major celebration, has also taken a plunge this year as the number of tourists has drastically reduced after a number of COVID-19 suspects were found to have visited Agra and Rajasthan.
Holi gathering in Delhi’s Rashtrapati Bhawan has also been cancelled by President Ram Nath Kovind as a precautionary measure. Several national and state leaders of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) including Prime Minister Narendra Modi have announced that they will not attend Holi celebrations this year.