SIKH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2012: SHORT DOCS
Hola! The Mighty Colors
Directed by: Teenaa Kaur; Produced by Suresh Menon
"Hola Mohalla," or simply "Hola," is a Sikh martial art festival celebrated on the first lunar month of Chait, which usually falls in March. This is by a tradition established by Guru Gobind Singh, and follows the Holi by one day. Together the words "Hola Mohalla" stand for "mock fight." The Guru made Hola Mohalla an occasion for Sikhs to demonstrate their martial arts skills in simulated battles. The purpose of the event was to strengthen the army so as to fight the oppression of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Men in blue, or the Nihangs, are the main attraction of the festival. Donning blue robes and huge flamboyant turbans, they perform feats fearlessly in the festival. They are warrior saints. On this three-day grand festival, mock battles, exhibitions, and displays of weapons are held. The participants perform daring feats such as Gatka (mock encounters with real weapons), tent pegging, bareback horse-riding, and various other acts of bravery.