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The Safe Holi campaign


Holi is a festival that traditionally symbolised a welcome to the season of spring. It celebrated the colours of nature since many trees started to bloom during this period. Over the years this connection to Nature has slowly been lost even though soically, it remains an ocassion of great joy and gaiety.

The Safe Holi campaign was based on research originally done by Toxics Link, Delhi. The Kalpavriksh Environment Action Group got involved in this work in 2002 and since then has been leading a successful campaign to raise awareness about the impacts of Holi on personal and environmental health.

The main issue related to Holi is the use of toxic chemical colours. Colours that are commercially available are usually industrial dyes not meant for human use. These contain toxic heavy metals that can cause serious to personal health.

The Safe Holi campaign endeavours to encourage the return to the use of natural colours to celebrate Holi.

To this end, Kalpavriksh has been doing the following:

  • Developed and promoted educational posters among schools along with the Center for Environment Education.
  • Offerred lecture demonstrations to schools showing children how to make their own natural colours.
  • Distributing recipes for natural colour among the public.
  • Displayed educational slides in movie theaters.
  • Coordinated a yearly press campaign building up to the Holi season.
  • Coordinated the making of an animation film around the subject of a natural Holi.
  • Coordinated a childrens song around the subject which was sung by a group of blind children.
  • Developed a range of natural colours in collaboration with the Malnad Seed Exchange Collective, Sirsi, Karnataka.

While the education work continues under the banner of Kalpavriksh, eCoexist has now taken on the commerical sale of the natural Holi colours to try and set up a finacially viable model.

Read more about this campaign on the Kalpavriksh website.
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