India – the country of festivals, the country where people celebrate to thank the Gods, the country where all classes of people come together to cherish the very purpose of life. Festivals give a ray of hope to the working people to keep working, and also function as a channel to all classes of people to give their best, do the right things, earn more, so they can get home and spend time with the family.
Holi is celebrated as harvest festival as well as a welcome festival for the spring season in India. Holi is regarded as a celebration of the colours of brotherhood and unity. Colors, water balloons, Pichkaris, gulaal etc. are terms synonymous with the festival of Holi. One thing that is also famous during holi is consumption of “bhang”. It gives the drinker a sort of high feeling making him lose his senses. Many of the molestation and rape cases reported during Holi are under the influence of Bhaang alone.
Another thing that largely contributes to women being molested during holi is the very popular and omnipresent saying, “Buran a maano, Holi hai!”; men can touch you anywhere, make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe, can apply colours to your body inappropriately and can get away with the simple excuse of “Buran a maano, Holi hai!” which literally translates into, “don’t get serious or feel bad, today is Holi!” Holi nowadays has been characterized as the festival of “Misbehaving with women”. With the excuse of applying gulaal or colours, a man tries to pound himself over women.
In other cases where such extremities are prevented, women are anyways subjected to lewd comment and disturbing leers. Many times the ‘playing’ Holi itself becomes the garb used by men to molest women.
This problem has intensified so much over years that in general women restrict themselves from public places where processions of such crude men are in operation. The balloon attacks which commence almost a week before Holi, derive special pressure in preying women, but others can also be subject to it. Often as the part of the ‘play’ people are dragged out of the houses and dipped into mud pools, smeared with egg yolks and cow dung. All this to the person who is not even willing to be even a part of these forms of ‘festivities’!
So, this year let’s sober up on those countless mugs of Bhang and spare women from the virile Holi. Renounce those water balloons and that permanent grease. Let’s play Holi as it is supposed to be. Let’s play a safe and consensual Holi.
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