Holi, as we all know, celebrates the beginning of the new season, spring. Holi, as I remember back in my village, used to be the festival of vibrant joys, communal harmony (Hindu and Muslim community along with small group of Christian and some other religious/cultural communities often came together on this day) and a celebration of a culture that teaches us to forgive and love even our enemies. I remember my father, who being what he was – the strongman of JMM, had many foes, but during the time of Holi they would all forget everything and come together to celebrate it.
But over the period of time, as I grew up, moved out (because my mother wanted to me study in an English medium school) of my village back in Bihar (now Jharkhand), I realize that there’s no such sensibility attached to it anymore. All it has become is another form of hooliganism, vandalism and an excuse to hit and hurt people by throwing eggs, water balloons, rotten tomatoes, etc. on them. The sense of Holi – that sheer experience of being able to spread joy through vibrant colours, is lost now. So is the very passion of colour that once upon a time brought people from different communities together (I am a witness to this rare phenomenon which is rarer in our society today).
And as I am talking about Holi, I also need to bring in the idea of consent that this festival actually and completely obliterates. You see, the way we play Holi or the way it’s celebrated in our society these days, the issue of touching a woman/girl without her consent, holds no merit to it. It absolutely disagrees with the whole notion of consent. I have seen it, and shockingly experienced it too (what, you think a man/boy who doesn’t want to be soaked in the colours of Holi, would appreciate it?)
A few days ago, while having a discussion on the same, my friend Wrisha had commented that – “Be it in religion or cultural practices, what is morally and ethically wrong shall forever remain wrong.”
And I believe that touching, fondling, and even applying the colour of Holi on a woman/girl without her consent is wrong. No matter what! So to the girls out there (some of who are my friends, some something else), this is for you:
…because that’s the only (and current) solution to the horrible state of you all in our society and your dismal plight.