Speech by H.E. Mr. V. Mahalingam at the celebration of Holi 2016
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Remarks at Holi/ PhagwahCelebration at ICC on 23 March 2016


His Excellency Brigadier David Granger, President of Guyana
Hon Moses Nagamootoo, Prime Minister of Guyana
Hon Anil NandLall Former Attorney General and Member of Parliament and Representative of the Leader of Opposition.
Honourable Members of Cabinet,
Honourable Members of Parliament
ExcellenciesAmbassdors, High Commissioners and Representatives of UN and others International Organisations
Distinguished invitees and Friends,
Members of Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
lovely Children and
My dear Citizens of India


Namastee! Welcome! AslamuAlaikkum! Vanakkam


Holi which is fondly termed as PHAGWAH in the Caribbean region and particularly in the State of Biharin India, has many names in India. It is called DolJatra in Odhisha, Basantosav or DolPurnima in West Bengal. Though Holiwas not popular in South India as in North India, it has become a festival of the Nation now with the advent of Information Technology and the enormous joy it brings with it .


Phagwah is in a way the Indian "Valentine Day". It is not only FESTIVAL of COLOURS but also FESTIVAL of LOVE. This day you won't get an invite to come to anyone's place because it is expected you will come on your own. This feeling keeps the Holi festival vibrant and it is something which touches the heart. In our busy lives we cherish a day like this when we forget the mind for a while and do only what our heart does. And that is why the saying is there- BuranamaanoHoliHai- meaning-Don't Feel Bad Today Is Holi. You can play any kind of prank and get away with that. But yes that doesn't mean you would do something which is dangerous or which causes discomfort.


For every festival, there is a legend in India. Holi is not an exception.There are many legends.


Foremost is the legend of Prahlad and Hiranyakshyap. The legend says there once lived a devil and powerful king called Hiranyakshyap who considered himself a God and wanted everybody to worship him. To his great dismay, his son, Prahlad began to worship, the Protector God Lord Vishnu. Much angry with his son, the devilish King wanted to get rid of his sonand asked his sister, Holika to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap, as she had a boon to enter fire unscathed. Legend has it that Prahlad was saved for his extreme devotion for the Lord Vishnu while Holika paid a price for her sinister desire. The tradition of burning Holika or the 'Holikadahan' comes mainly from this legend.


Another legend says Holi is in commemoration of the divine love between Radha and Krishna. That is how it is celebrated as a festival of love. As a baby, Krishna developed his characteristic blue skin colour because the she-demon Putana poisoned him with her breast milk. In his youth, Krishna despaired whether Radha and other girls would like him or not.Krishna's mother asked him to approach Radha and colour her face in any colour that he wanted. This he does, and Radha and Krishna became lovers and then a couple later. Ever since, the playful colouring of Radha's face has been commemorated as Holi.


Yet another legend of Holi which is extremely popular in Southern India is that of Lord Shiva and Kaamadeva. Kaamadeva is lord of Passion.According to the legend, people in south Indiacelebrate the sacrifice of Lord of Passion Kaamadeva who risked his life to revoke Lord Shiva from meditation and save the world from an impending disaster.


Holiwhich is celebrated at the end of winter, also signifies ushering in of spring's abundant colours and saying farewell to winter. Holi is also identified as a festival that celebrates agriculture, commemorates good spring harvests and the fertile land.


Today the Festival of Colours and also the Festival of Love has brought together in Guyana its proud citizens from all religions and I am delighted to see you all in large numbers. There is asaying in Tamil language and I quote" YaadhumOoraeYavarumKaeleer" which is in Sanskrit "VasudhaivaKutumbakam" both of which meaning" The Whole World is one Family". I couldsense the real meaning of it in the congregation of proud citizens of Guyanese here today. It is true depiction of Unity in Diversity. Long live Guyana!


Friends , I would like to specially thank His Excellency Brigadier David Granger, President of Guyana, for his gracious presence here today. I would also like to thank Honourable Moses Nagamootoo Prime Minister of Guyana, Hon Anil NandLall Former Attorney General and Member of Parliament and Representative of the Leader of Opposition for joining here My heartfelt thanks are also due to Honourable Members of Cabinet, Members of Parliament, my Diplomatic colleagues, Distinguished invitees, Members of the Media , Ladies and Gentlemen, lovely Children and my dear Citizens of India for their gracious presence here.


I wish you all aHAPPY, Colourful and Lovely Phagwah and Holi.


Thank you.

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