The lath maar holi and molestation

Being born and brought up in India we all know the significance of the festivals. Holi, known as the festival of colors is celebrated all over India. Holi celebrations are marked by the splashing of colors, filling balloons with water and buying the fanciest pichkaris. As kids, we have all spent our days and nights waiting for the festival. Holi is a festival when people of every age group lose control and have fun.

Holi is celebrated differently in different parts of the country. Being the generation that believes in travelling, we all have Vrindavan’s lath maar holi somewhere on our bucket list. The lath maar holi is a tradition where women beat men with the sticks on holi. It is said that the tradition of the lath maar holi started long ago when Lord Krishna came to visit his beloved Radha’s village on this day and playfully teased her and her friends. Getting offended by this, the women chased lord Krishna away. The festival is celebrated for the whole week and attracts tourists from all over the world.

Behind the traditions that are supposed to be fun is a dark story, the dark side of the coin. Under the veil of this lath mar holi every year, mass molestation of women takes place. By molestation here I do not mean using too much color and using harmful colors, but women are grouped, targeted and molested. Many women use the social networking sites to share the dreadful experience they had while playing holi. One such experience was shared by a writer who went to witness this famous event. She was molested by a sadhu and if this was not enough, a group of locals followed her and her group of friends, targeting their pichkaris on the woman’s back. The writer said that she had a burning sensation after the water rolled down her thighs, the reason for which she discovered later was that the glass powder is mixed with water and then aimed.

According to the legends the boys belonging to Nandgaon are supposed to tease the girls who belong to Barsana and Nanadgaon so that the girls become tired and bash their lathis at the boys. But this playful legend has turned into a nuisance where boys become vulgar. They use vulgar hand gestures and abuses on a number of girls, especially those who were not locals. This is definitely not the culture we all take pride in boasting about. If a festival gives a license to boys to molest girls, then no wonder we have been dealing with so many rape cases in our country.

These disturbing activities are not just limited to the young girls, but women of every age group go through this vexation whether she is an 8 year old kid or 60 year old woman. The boys surround the girls; drench them from tip to toe; targeting her assets.

Holi does not give men the suffrage to force themselves on women. If this is what our culture and tradition states, we should rather not celebrate this festival.

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