Published on March 25th, 2013


Bura maano, Holi hai!

Jatin Sharma is aghast at people’s moronic behaviour during Holi, and wonders why they forget basic decency while having fun.

Holi stands apart from all the other festivals in India. For starters, Holi is the only festival in which, instead of wearing new clothes, we head out the door wearing our old tattered ones. For another, it is the most mischievous festival of the country. In fact, the statement ‘Bura na maano, Holi hai’ pretty much explains everything that is allowed in the name of Holi.

Holi is one festival where everybody has the ‘license’ to tease others in society. But in recent times, people have forgotten the most important aspect of Holi: it is still a festival.

By itself, a festival is supposed to spread sweetness and light, and Holi also does that. A festival is meant to bring society together to share good thought and happy moments. But as time goes by, everyone has turned Holi into a joke holiday tinged with cruelty.

People are now looking at Holi as a festival that gives them the chance to harass and torture others, sometimes complete strangers. How else do you explain the use of polythene bags in place of balloons or oil paints instead of gulaal? The simple gulaal-and-water routine of Holi has now given way to Chinese colours and rain dances. And the ‘festivity’ starts even before the day of revelry, with groups of people hitting the terraces of their buildings and aiming for people on the streets, especially those who are well-dressed and probably going for job interviews.

The more I see it, the more it begins to appear that the only reason we use these strange colours during Holi is so that we can laugh at others for the next 10 days as the colours refuse to fade quickly. And certain men should just go ahead and announce that the only reason they participate in the festival is so that they can touch women inappropriately in the guise of celebration.

We have become such hooligans with this festival, not caring how people will suffer for our five minutes of enjoyment. We aim for moving bikes, trying to hit the rider as hard as we can with our water balloons, not realising that we are putting the rider at risk of death or blindness with our antics. We put fear in the hearts of several girls who fear being molested in the name of Holi. We deliberately colour somebody’s head so that he or she has to keep washing their hair for a week, and still find colour with each wash.

Let alone human beings, our moronic behaviour extends to targetting animals as well. Painted dogs and tattooed cows are becoming a common sight post-Holi in recent years.

If we are one those characters who use pakka rang, or waste water, or paint animals, or throw balloons on passers-by or molest girls, we should be ashamed of ourselves. On the one hand, we try to show the world that we are a decent society that stands against the atrocities on women, but on the other, we go ahead and molest women in fun. On the one hand, Maharashtra is going through a severe drought, which we discuss during our smoke breaks at work, but on the day of the revelry, we will still waste water because it is ‘only for one day, so it’s okay’.

We say we love animals, but we think colouring them green, yellow and red is funny. We talk of donating our eyes and urge others to do so too, but we think nothing of blinding others with chemical colours.

The hypocrisy in our society has made us forget the actual fun and frolic of Holi, and that it is a festival of colours to be celebrated with goodness and innocence. It should make people and animals feel safe, and let them rejoice without having to look over their shoulders.

Most importantly, it should be celebrated in the spirit that Lord Krishna celebrated it with. He would have hated our silver and green chemical colours, and He would never put oil paints on gopis. And He definitely wouldn’t put gulaal on his cow.

This year, celebrate Holi to spread happiness, and not to target people. And if you’re still looking at it as an excuse to harass people, then to everyone else I say, please, bura maano, Holi hai.

Jatin Sharma is a media professional who doesn’t want to grow up, because if he grows up, he will be like everybody else.

(Picture courtesy telegraph.co.uk)

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