Nagpur: A touch without consent not only marks its presence on the skin but deep down soul, which often follows severe mental trauma for anyone. Though mindset behind normalizing such behavior or breaching consent in the name of celebration is that sexual assault, in the end, is not a big deal when it comes to Holi.
Holi marks the onset of spring and the victory of good over evil in Hindu Mythology. Celebrations for the multi-day event kick off with Holika Dahan, lighting of a bonfire, followed by the colorful festivities. There’s loud party music, bright colors, water balloons, alcohol, and it’s often all playing out on the streets of major cities and towns. Its jubilance is crystalized in the popular Hindi catchphrase: “Bura na maano, Holi hain!” which literally translates into, “Don’t get serious or feel bad, today is Holi!”
Let’s unpack what this means: In theory, non-stop party — a coming together of friends and foes, where all grievances are forgiven — marked by great food, music and flowing drinks.
In reality, though, that same anything-goes attitude makes room for a no holds barred rampage of sexual assault and harassment where inhibitions are down, spirits are high, and women are up for grabs. Women who brave to venture out to celebrate are pelted with water balloons strategically aimed at their breasts and private parts, groped under the guise of a friendly hug, and finally, violently assaulted.
Men think of the festival as a permission slip to touch women inappropriately — accosting them with colour on the roads and aiming water balloons at their breasts or private parts. And this harassment comes from all sides — from friends and creepy neighbour uncles to members of one’s own extended family. If you’re confused about whether or not you were sexually harassed, chances are you probably were. But to confirm, Section 354A of the Indian Penal Code states that “physical contact and advances involving unwelcome and explicit sexual overtures” and “making sexually coloured remarks” constitutes sexual harassment. Demanding and requesting sexual favours and showing pornography against the will of a woman is also included in the law.
India is no stranger to the problem of sexual assault. The country has time and again confronted heightened incidents of rape with public outcries, rallies and protests, calling for an end to the rampant misogyny that makes men believe they are entitled to the bodies of women and girls. But none of these rules apply on Holi!
Touch, touch of love by the ones you love or your loved ones, friends, family touch to help, caressing in need and there is a touch which sends shivers down the nerve endings. The touch from a leech person who tries to satisfy his male ego, his sexual arouses by touching a girl without her consent. And once that they got a chance why end it with touching, why not pinch, grope, hit after all “Bura Na Mano Holi Hai” and under alcohol consumption everything is allowed perfect defense to all the wrongs. But not anymore you dirty human. This time don’t think the girl won’t say anything because she isn’t the Abala Naari that you think she is, if you dare touch her or make her feel uncomfortable she will give it back to you and make you regret your fantasy for life! With all due respect, Your fellow gender.
Bura Na Khelo, Holi Hai!!