Holi- The Festival of Colours or of Hooliganism?

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Both Holi and Diwali are one of the most auspicious Hindu festivals, celebrated with the highest spirits. Ironically but more sadly, both these festivals are have come up with worries of new kinds. Now, as the end of the festival comes near, I cannot help up think about the numerous ways people cause trouble in the name of celebrating it. The sad part is that some people would not obviously want to be the victim to such wrongdoings circling the festival and have no option left, but to sit at their homes on a festival which is supposed to be all about the fun! The hooliganism is not only limited to women being harassed or touched inappropriately but also involves million other ways in which people feel uncomfortable. “I remember once I was going for my drawing class and some kids were throwing water balloons. I asked them not to because otherwise my stuff would get ruined. They still threw the balloons at me and my entire file with some of my best work got ruined”, said Priyanshi Chawla, pursuing Psychology Honours from Delhi University. Throwing eggs, pushing people into the drains, applying colours which are highly chemicalised and can permanently damage one’s skin, are deemed to be the new cool.

Under the same old slogan of “bura na maano Holi hai”, I have lost count of how many people I have seen harassing others. The hooliganism has sadly no boundaries at all. The speed at which water balloons are thrown and the madness that people have in them to unleash on this very festival, is good enough to even take lives. “This guy in my society was forcefully dumped in a drum by a group of other boys. He kept screaming, while the others who were held accountable justified by saying “bura na maano Holi hai”. The following year, the same guy still came to play Holi. The same thing did not happen to him but some a bunch of idiots were throwing water balloons from their balconies and one of which directly hit is neck and he fainted. He was thereby, quickly rushed to the neighbour’s house for first aid,” shared Shreeya, a student studying in Cambridge School.

More often than not, Holi is a festival of the struggle for women. From being promised by their brothers of protection and care on Raksha Bandhan to being aggressively harassed on Holi, women are always entangled in a cultural paradox. Semen filled water balloons, groping in the name of applying colours and drenched till the time their body parts are more than visible, is just another day of Holi for us women. The problem is beyond the fact that these acts are justified, they have been normalised. Recently, two female students were harassed, were called Coronavirus and were thrown balloons at. Can women ever have it easy in this country? “There was this one time when I was very young, I was running to from my home to the common society park where all the residents were playing Holi. A guy who was throwing balloons on everybody from his terrace saw me running and threw one of those balloons on my chest. I could not even breathe for a few minutes, it hurt that bad”, said another student from Delhi University.

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The commercialisation and the products available in the market to celebrate this festival is a whole other debate. The colours sprays can permanently damage one’s sight, the black grease has a lot of times been proved to be nothing but shoe polish. And don’t even get me started on the amount of water which is wasted on this festival.

Festivals are supposed to be binding people together and showing them your love. It should never be mistaken as the license to harass others. Over the years, I have increasingly seen people who would choose to be at their homes over subscribing to the madness of this kind. Knowing one’s limits and not hurting somebody’s feelings for the sake of your own celebration should not be that big a task.

Image Source – Navbharat Times

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