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Holi Hai: Growing Horrors of Holi


The festival of colors has become an excuse for harassment. But does consent matter? The irony is that women are being treated as sexual objects on streets in a country where they are adjudged as Goddess.

Few days before Holi, a first-year student of Lady Shri Ram College for Women alleged “semen-flinging” and described her experience on the social media.

Read the post here:

(Picture Courtesy: Instagram)

(Picture Courtesy: Instagram)

(Picture Courtesy: Instagram)


This incident indicates the growing pattern of molesting women and supports rape culture. The festival of colors is turning into an ‘unsafe festival.’ A festival that we celebrate as a mark of the triumph of good over evil has become a festival of harassment. The day when men find an excuse to harass women on the pretext of ‘Bura Na Maano, Holi hai”.

So, we asked few women to share their thoughts about Holi Hooliganism.

No Self-Control. Shameful.
Kusum Sharma, AGM Marketing, Tamra Dhatu Udyog


Such incidents are not new. They happen and will keep on repeating until the time we raise our voice loud against such notorious men. They don’t have self-control during the festival, especially when they are high on ‘Bhaang’ (Bhaang is a subsided form of drug mixed with buttermilk or curd. It is an alcoholic beverage. It gives the drinker a sort of high feeling making him lose his senses.).

Holi is a festival that holds the spirit of liberation. But few people take the onus on their shoulders to trouble women to derive some sexual pleasures. This should STOP. The act should be charged as criminal, and the accused should get the punishment. I think it’s high time the government should listen to the grievances of women and ask authorities to bring an immediate end to this culture of molestation.

‘Consent and Colours’
Swati Bhasin, Journalist, NDTV


If you are going to give one typical statement, ‘If you go out on Holi, this is what bound to happen’ is somewhere we are mistaken as a society. We should change the way we think and try not to imbibe such sentiments in our own houses. Such incidents, like what happened with the student of LSR are not normal. Harassment, in any form, is a crime and any festival cannot certify to bully the other person.

I want to shout out loud ‘Bura Maano, Holi Hai.’ The word is ‘consent.’ The festival should be no excuse to harass women or violate their rights of moving freely on the streets. Women are equal citizens, and they should be allowed to exercise their right to play Holi or not on the street as men do. I have always seen my mother, my aunties or my friend’s mother advising girls not to go out due to safety reasons. Why? Why we are taught to remain indoors, and boys can do whatever they wish to? What world are we creating for future generation?

Education is no solution…Gender Sensitivity is!
Sana Khan, Assistant Cinematographer

Even the most educated boys, studying in the best of institutions, working at multinational companies, coming from affluent families indulge in such notorieties. Few of them are also our friends, unfortunately. We, as girls and friends, try hard to make them realize the meaning of consent and that Holi is no pretext to break it. This notion of Holi being one day to enjoy should not be accepted. It’s like you are free to harass women one day in a year and no law can stop you. The boys should understand and respect a women’s agency and draw limitations to their notion of having fun.

Cinema invokes sentiments
Maryam Zehra, Assistant Professor, AJK MCRC

Cinema is a significant tool for disseminating mass knowledge. People derive their daily dose of inspiration from the Bollywood actors whom they perceive as their role models. Holi songs are lewd with raunchy lyrics. For instance, songs like Soni Soni from the movie Mohabbatein (2000) or ‘Do Me A Favour, Let’s Play Holi’ from the film Waqt (2005) or Badri Ki Dulhaniya from the movie Badrinath Ki Dulhaniya (2017) or Go Pagal from the movie Jolly LLB 2 (2017) clearly shows the growing inspiration among the youngsters.

When actors of such stature do songs, which objectifies a woman, as not more than a sexual object, then what better can we expect from masses. The onus lies upon the filmmakers and actors who are passively teaching the young men to express their frustration out in the open openly. When you are normalizing such acts, then don’t expect common people to be sensitive towards gender issues.

Holi is a beautiful festival with a strong message. Let’s not destroy its meaning by doing awful things under the garb of celebrations.


About Asma Rafat

Asma Rafat is an Independent Journalist based in New Delhi. Previously with The Free Press Journal and Channel NewsAsia. When not thinking about stories, she is busy reading Urdu poetry, watching movies or taking photographs. Find her on Twitter @asmarafat

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