Everyday when we go out for a walk at Kamakoti Nagar, we find beautiful “kolam” (rangoli) outside many houses. Many of the girls and ladies who make the kolam are actually artists because some women like me struggle to make a kolam even with a mould !!
Leave aside the religious connotations of a kolam, there was and still is a hygiene and environmental reason to draw the kolam outside your house. The flour used for a traditional kolam was rice flour, and the front yard was sprinkled with diluted cow dung and the kolam then made on it. Cow dung is anti-bacterial, prevents mosquitos from coming inside the house and keeps insects away, even scorpions apparently !! The rice flour kolam ensures that ants and other small insects have food everyday and they also stay outside the house and not get inside. In many parts of India, in villages, cow dung paste is applied on the house walls etc in preparation for any festival – its not just auspicious, but hygienic as well. Underlying this practice is another deep thought which is to live in harmony “with” nature and other species – very different from the Western thought of “conquering” nature and the overpowering germ phobia ! Infact the adverts for many soaps harp on the germicidal properties and how long your hand stays clean ….. hey give “gobar” (cow dung) a chance 🙂 and stop harming nature.
We do need to go retro in some areas in India to progress because whether you like it or not, our ancestors knew living in good health without harming nature and still progress. Please don’t throw the increase in life expectancy as a counter argument – plastic has infinite life expectancy, but its dead. Rather than debunking all that our ancestors did as hocus-pocus, can we enquire and understand their practices – the “rishis” apparently have lived for 400 years … and in good health. The people of Okinawa in Japan, live well over 100 and in good health, in today’s day and age. There is something that they do which helps them live that long, so why couldn’t our “rishis” have lived for 400 years ? Why should that be treated as myth ?
As you mull over the questions above, enjoy four exquisite kolams from the daily artists of Kamakoti Nagar 🙂
Have a great day ahead everyone !