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Press Release: Holi 2009

Once again, people all over the world will play a safe and completely natural Holi, thanks to the the natural Holi colours campaign that began  under the Kalpavriksh Environment Action Group and has been taken forward by eCoexist. These colours have now reached cities all over India and also Indian students abroad.

The Rang Dulaar colours from eCoexist are made by the women farmers of Vanastree, in Karnataka. These colours are based on turmeric, a medicinal herb which is beneficial and safe for human skin. These colours arrive in Pune where they are packaged by the women prisoners of the Yerawada Central Jail, bringing them a source of income as well.

eCoexist, a social enterprise based in Pune takes on full responsibility for the handling , promotion and marketing of the Rang Dulaar colours. For 2009, they have added new colours to their range which now include red, yellow, orange, green and black. In addition eCoexist is also introducing wet colour concentrates based on Annatto seeds and beetroot powder.

The colours are being distributed to a network of stores and individuals in Pune, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Goa, Aurangabad, Hyderabad, Baroda and Chennai. This year, colours have also reached Indian students at the University of California at Berkeley and at Oxford in the UK.

Over the years, the market for Holi products has seen a number of harmful chemical dyes being promoted for use during Holi. A preliminary survey reveals that these clearly mention the names of the chemicals such as Rhodamine and Melachite on the packets and may also carry warnings such as 'For Industrial Use only' or 'Non Edible', and yet are being sold for use at Holi. Lately, new products such as 'Holi cream' and 'Snow sprays' are being marketed. Chemicals such as these may be potentially harmful to the skin and eyes.

Carrying the work of education forward, eCoexist has been doing sessions with school children teaching them how to make their own Holi colours. They have also been invited by several corporates to set up stalls and spread the message in this way.

That the campaign is a tremendous success can be seen in the expansion of the work to other cities and Indian groups abroad.

At this stage, it is important that green claims such as 'herbal' or 'non toxic' be clarified by suppliers by providing a clear list of ingredients on their products and that standards be established for such claims.

In the meantime, this Holi make sure that the colours you play with bring you joy and good health! Or go a step further and make your own Holi colours!

To read more visit or call 09850084383

The list of stores where these colours are available is also on the website.

If you need high resolution images of our work please email me.

Manisha Gutman
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