The Shameful, Unholy Hooliganism Splashed All Over Social Media This Holi

“Didi Bachaiye, Ye bahut tang karte hain” was the plea of a minor. Her brother in law had her pinned down on his lap and was applying colour to her and kissing her while someone took this video.

Trigger Warning: This deals with violence against women, sexual harassment of women and children, child sexual abuse, street molestation, and may be triggering for survivors.

While we take pride in celebrating “unity in diversity” and the awesome festivals of Incredible India, it is disturbing to learn about incidents that hurt the psyche and show our nation in poor light.

Why should the dark acts of some sick and unholy hooligans spoil our “Festival of Colours”?

This Holi 2023, the following three caught my attention-

  • “Boycott Bharat Matrimony”- #BoycottBharatMatrimony was (and as I write this, is still) trending.
  • A video with a minor being molested in the name of Holi celebration
  • A young female Japanese tourist harassed during Holi celebrations

Boycott Bharat Matrimony

“A lot of women have stopped playing Holi due to the trauma they experience through harassment.”

This was the narrative and content of Holi special advertisement shared by Bharat Matrimony.

After facing a backlash, Bharat Matrimony deleted the tweet and shared the following content in their tweet message: This Women’s Day & Holi, let’s celebrate by creating safer and more inclusive spaces for women. It’s important to acknowledge the challenges that women face in public spaces and create a society that truly respects their well-being – today & forever.

Their video has the same content.

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According to trolls, “Hindu festival has been targeted.” “Wishing safety for women is fine- and not just on festivals.” “But why can’t brands and all have message everyday?”

Minor Girl Kissed & Manhandled

Brother-in-law (jijaji) kissing his young sister-in-law (saali).

The man demands photo and video while a female of the family films the entire shot. The young girl looks traumatized and calls her mother. We can even hear her pleading to the man not to put colours and she is calling her sister- “Didi Bachaiye, Ye bahut tang karte hain.” But, who will save her when a fellow female of the family, probably her sister herself, is indulging to the demands and filming the molestation act when the man forcibly hugs, kisses, and applies colours on the minor. No, it is not okay.

Some reactions-

Her mother is around. Her sister? is shooting the video. More than the man, it’s these two who I hold responsible for enabling this. All the adults present there should see some consequences. That being said, this is NOT our culture. : @PoisonofChoice

You just can’t unsee this . I have been trying to avoid this video but like so many molestation videos, this is all over my timeline. One festival , that’s all it took to expose our society for what it is. I am ashamed as an Indian and as a woman. : @pankhuripathak

What sickens me more? That a woman is enabling this, filming it, and not dragging that perv to hell.: @kiranmanral

A Japanese woman tourist harassed

While we take pride in our culture and values and proclaim “Atithi Devo Bhava” (Guest is God) and “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (whole world is family) and invite all to visit our great nation, some deranged unscrupulous elements spoil our nation’s image.

Truly heart-broken to read this headline today “Japanese woman, 22, harassed during Holi celebrations in India: Holi celebrations took a horrific turn for a 22-year-old Japanese woman in India after she faced harassment from a group of men.”

That is not just one tourist they have misbehaved with this Holi. There are reports of another unholy incident involving a Korean tourist in Mumbai. Here is an old video where a foreigner’s wife got groped on Holi.

Such incidents are an attack on the collective conscience and morals of our nation.

This is so shocking and shameful.

Harassment of women is real and rampant, especially during Holi

Such a disgusting act done by these people in the name of Holi… The entire india have a problem with the Ad campaign of #Swiggy and #BHARATMATRIMONY which reflect the truth! : @camanishbalani

Most women in india will say they have gone through something like this… Holi seems to b a time to molest lone girls / women who happen to be on the roads by sheer misfortune. No one complains coz “buraa naa Mano … Holi hai…” A #HolyLaw is needed to deter such incidents. : @junglee999

And such incidents are not new. Many go unreported.

This is what had happened two years ago on Holi. The tourist, ‘Under The Same Skye”’ had shared on her YouTube account. Old video has gone viral this year.

Who gave these men the liberty to do this and play with our country’s image? Why this sense of entitlement and devil-may-care attitude while “having fun” at the cost of severely denting and maligning?

Is any action being taken?

Some men have apologised to all who have suffered.

“I apologize to you for what you went through. I also want to add please don’t judge us because of a few hooligans you will find such people in every part of the world.” :@Kaushikkbhai_15

Last year, in December 2022, a Korean YouTuber Hyojeong Park was harassed.

Happened to me in another country too but at that time I couldn’t do anything to call Police. In India, action being taken very quickly. I’ve been in Mumbai for over 3 weeks, planning to stay longer: S Korean YouTuber Hyojeong Park, who was harassed in Mumbai while live streaming : @ANI

There was immediate action.

The two accused – Mobeen Chand Mohammad Shaikh and Mohammad Naqeeb Sadrealam Ansari – who harassed South Korean YouTuber Hyojeong Park while live streaming in Mumbai have been sent to 1-day Police custody.  : @ANI

Police needs to spring into action this way.

Let no hooligan roam around freely. Such men and groups of men need to be identified, caught, named and shamed, and punished severely. Please let their faces be shown to all without any cover. How dare they associate such black memories to our colourful nation? Let their examples deter others from doing the same in the future.

Future depends on our actions today. Let Holi be true to what it stands for, and have no nexus with the unholy. This is everyone’s responsibility.

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About the Author

Anita Sabat

A creative explorer. Believes in miracles and the power of words. Independent researcher, PhD, writer, cultural activist, social worker. Orange Flower Award 2019 for Best Use of Twitter for Social Impact- Runner-Up. Geographical Indications ( read more...

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