Have you commenced the second phase of your career after a career break? Share your story & get featured at Women in Corporate Allies 2022.
Can Holi be a teachable moment for our families and communities, with people coming together in joy and comfort with each other? Yes! Make this Holi an occasion to talk about Consent.
Almost 25 years ago as a pre-teen in Shimla I never played Holi. Since childhood I was averse to this whole idea of getting ‘dirty’ and also being touched by so many people (unkindly, as it seemed). On one such Holi evening long after the clamour and ‘playing’ had halted I walked to the neighbourhood shop for some essentials as was routine, when an inebriated man literally forced himself on me in a narrow passage, and rubbed gulal on my face and hair, harshly shouting HAPPY HOLI! I ran home and in spite of my mom asking me what had happened, I couldn’t say what exactly had happened.
I felt violated – “inappropriately touched” is the technical term as I learned years later.
The incident had me in shock for many days and I think for years after that, I avoided that path in the neighbourhood altogether. Many years later I realized that it was my first brush with the crude public harassment that most women and girls in India go through, especially around and in the name of Holi.
No other festivals in India involve physical contact with another; in our culture we are otherwise too paranoid of family members of the opposite gender or even couples hugging and touching each other in public view but then hypocritically enough the same society ‘allows’ anybody to violate anybody’s physical space on this one day.
The whole social ambience a few days preceding Holi is that of hooliganism and rowdiness. Boys and men seem to get a short term license to molest and harass anyone, particularly women and girls. What is even worse that any mention of CONSENT in such a scenario is seen as anti-culture, anti-festive spirit and what not!
Women have gone through horrendous experiences like being pulled and pushed from two-wheelers, jostled in public places, forcibly fondled and smeared with gross things ranging from paint, grease, and sewage water to semen.
Here are a few important points that we need to set as rules in families and communities:
Do not assume CONSENT.
Ask: “May I put a small dot of colour on your forehead for Holi? Do you want to play colours with me? Are you okay with water colours?”
And most importantly, if our idea of a festival means fear and disgust for someone else, it is time to revise and alter it.
The common phrase used in Holi Bura na mano Holi hai! (Don’t mind, it’s Holi) needs to be changed to Bura na karo Holi hai! (Don’t do ill, it’s Holi!)
Image via Pixabay
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Pooja Priyamvada is an author, columnist, translator, online content & Social Media consultant, and poet. An awarded bi-lingual blogger she is a trained psychological/mental health first aider, mindfulness & grief facilitator, emotional wellness trainer, reflective read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
Bollywood (and the Indian society, at large) needs to understand that women's sexuality is real, and lesbians don’t just hold hands and hug each other. They have sex too.
First, I have a few questions.
When does Gayatri (Rani Mukerji) find out that her husband is gay in Bombay Talkies (2013)? When her gay male colleague tells her that her husband kissed him.
It’s sickening to watch habitual offenders like Sajid Khan crying on national television for being out of work for 4 years. Really, now Sajid’s playing the victim card?
Big Boss 16’s notorious host, Salman Khan and the Colors Channel has welcomed with open arms filmmaker and comedian Sajid Khan, who’s accused of sexual abuse by not one, two or three, but nine women to date, on the show.
Make no mistake, Sajid Khan’s participation is the digital equivalent of flashing his dick to the world, especially to his victims.
Saloni Chopra, film journalist, recalls her horrific hiring interview with Sajid, and much more, in this piece. Here’s a sample of completely unrelated questions that Sajid asked her.