“BURA NA MANO HOLI HAI” Rampant Hooliganism in the Shadow of Colours”
HOLI, a “festival of colours” or “festival of love” is celebrated with enthusiasm and gaiety signifying the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘evil’. A carnival of colours where exuberant people smear colours upon each other or drench in water through water filled balloons or water guns. This vibrant festival is a symbol of happiness and togetherness but for some, it is a “Let’s Get Drunk and Grope Some Girls” Day.
This year a few girls’ hostels owned by Delhi University decided to restrict girls from stepping out of the hostel premises during Holi with an explanation that the decision was in the interest of residents. Yet another example of locking the vulnerable in a cage as the vultures roam freely. If only, the restrictions on their mobility could put an end to the incidences of sexual violence and harassment.
Hooliganism unbridled has led harassments and abuses to the crest of the mountain. The draconian attack upon any girl on the street with balloons and what not starts days earlier to the main day and well for a few continues for days after as well. What could be more dreadful than a bunch of teenagers with the ugly puberty dripping out of their faces, subsequently attacking women on streets with whatever means that thrills them? The ogling eyes upon the drenched female body with the overall pleasure of violation often complements the harassment.
The almost week later as the world celebrates Women’s Day, the nationwide incidents of molestation, sexual assault, harassment and violence against women in the colourful festival out- coloured the essence prior celebration. Swathes of violence and harassment faced by women during the festival have rather made this festival a grope-fest.
The chanting of this mantra “ bura namano holi hai” is not an excuse to the abuse done by a gang of uncouth rowdy men. Every woman feels trapped and caged as she attempts to step ahead in the crowd because these rowdy men take it as their right to reach the body and gaze constantly, harassing to a limit that every memory of these incidences leave women in angst and paranoia. Well, the saddest part is, seldom, the society protests firmly against the miscreants, or condemns such acts and the famous silence renders strength to the wolves of the society.
By – Shringar Bhattarai