The Darker Side of the Festival of Colors

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Never did I play ‘Holi’ in my childhood. Since, the place where I was born was always gloomy and cold nobody dared to put colors on each other all through the day and wash the clothes which took an entire week to get dry. But as a child I always enjoyed watching bollywood movies where people danced in the tune of music, putting colors at each other with laughter. It looked so much fun. But I hardly knew the history behind Holi. Later, I came to know that it is a festival of Hindus which signifies the victory of good over evil. But along with this I also found out that this festival also brings with it the danger of being molested and groped. Usually, the victims are women. Yes, it is very unfortunate but the truth cannot be denied. A large number of women in our country are targeted and molested during holi. Women fear to get out of their house during this time of the year. Men and boys comes near the women pretending to share the fun and laughter that Holi brings but the intention with which they come near to the women are very depressing. Some women shares their saddest encounters during this festival while some keeps mum as bringing out this kind of incidents among the people brings a feeling of shame.

A British Journalist named Corinne Redfern did encountered this kind of unfortunate situation this year in Nepal. A group of young men surrounded her not with the intention of putting colors on her but directly targeting her touching her body. Corinne flooded her twitter account with this incident. Similar case of incidents happened all over in our country as well. Two women journalist and photographer encountered similar kind of situation in Vrindawan. They were there to capture the Holi festival which is famous all over the world and people from different countries come to see the very unique ‘Lath maar’ holi. ‘Lath Maar’ literally means ‘to beat with sticks’. On this day, the women walk around with sticks and they beat the men for fun. But sadly these two women were surrounded by young men and were targeted with the pichkaris in their private parts. Some also tried to touch their private parts with their hand. When one of the ladies caught one person harassing her she shouted at him saying how he dare do such kind of things with her. The boy simply replied that what was she expecting to get there during Holi? These are few incidents but there are hundreds and thousands of such incidents taking place in the country every day and every year.

Let us celebrate Holi without harassing someone or without the fear of being harassed. At the end of the day, it is a festival to share love and laughter not fear or hatred.



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