“Bura na maano, Holi hai!” (“Don’t mind, it’s Holi!”).
Since our childhood, we have been listening to the same old excuse every time we have been thrown colours on Holi without our willingness.
Holi, the festival of colours, is a day people champion the cause of inclusion. They greet even strangers with colours and have fun. After all, nobody minds hugs.
Many times, people apply Gulal abir (colours) to everyone. This is a great way to break barriers and meet people. But, as with everything else, there are two sides to a story and a saying: this slogan has two sides as well.
While it is great that the festival brings people together, it also presents the opportunity to the miscreants to misbehave under the garb of friendliness. Many people take the opportunity to get drunk and misbehave with women. Eve-teasing, molestation, groping – all of these things are done in the blink of an eye and in broad daylight during Holi. Moreover, it can go unnoticed by observers.
“Such things happen. You can’t always stop such incidents,” is the standard answer in such situations. But, this is wrong. Such incidents should not happen. They should not be normalised. Harassment is a crime and we should treat it that way. Holi is a festival of love, laughter, and colours, but it is not the licence to harass or molest.
This Holi, let us pledge to stand up against such transgressions and make Holi a safe festival for women, children and men.
Detergent brand Ghadi has raised this issue through their Holi video. #SaareMaelDhoDaalo