Well, it is that time of the year again where you can see everybody buying colours, water guns and balloons. Everybody has their way of celebrating it, some do by taking on the streets others by throwing lavish parties and maybe some are found celebrating only in their backyards. However, there are some (read women) who are mostly sulking in their rooms as they dread Holi and they have got their reasons for it.
Holi is supposed to be having a great time with your friends and family but often women, prefer to stay in enclosed spaces on this day. The reason why they can’t go out is that some men hiding behind the slogans bura na mano Holi hai take certain unacceptable liberties. It’s so ironic then that Holi signifies the triumph of good over evil.
“I hate when people think that just because it’s Holi they have the liberty to get into someone’s personal space and put colour in a very non-consensual way. The worst thing is you can’t get on streets without being worried about who is gonna fling a water balloon on you. I can’t even go jogging for like a week around Holi.” said Himani a college student.
Holi is a festival of colours and joy but this seems to be true only for one gender. For women a festival like Holi is a struggle.
Days before Holi you can see men with colours all over their faces and clothes roaming around on streets, throwing colours or worse ballons and calling out a name. The saddest part about this is that all of this is not justifiable still, it has been normalized.
All of us have had our experiences to talk about, Arushi a student pursuing journalism commented. “I haven’t played Holi in the last four years. A bunch of guys pushed me in the swimming pool and I couldn’t see anything clearly because they snatched my specs. I felt so powerless and scared at the moment. I just don’t have it in me to gather myself and go play Holi ever again.”
There are so many stereotypes around celebrating Holi, one of them is wearing white. Well, life isn’t always like a Bollywood movie. So in movies, you can wear white, but in reality, you can’t. White is not the colour you want to wear when you know you will be getting drenched.
“I felt so powerless and scared at the moment. I just don’t have it in me to gather myself and go play Holi again.”
Some college girls alleged that they were even hit with semen filled balloons. “It was a very shameful incident, all of us should introspect and figure out what value such festivals like Holi have in the present day and age, all of us should have certain boundaries while celebrating festivals. Let’s not forget that the respect for human life and dignity is the most essential and should not be compromised at any cost,” said a student from LSR.
Holi is a festival of colours and joy but this seems to be true only for one gender. For women a festival like Holi is a struggle. The question we need to ask ourselves is till when are we going to normalize such behaviour which is not acceptable to one half of the population? When will people start taking responsibility for their actions and understand that Holi should not only be celebrated in an eco-friendly way but those who celebrate it should abide by ethics, consents and social boundaries?
Shreya is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.