Protect Yourself From Harassment In The Name Of Holi #AAH

Holi is a festival of colours celebrated all over India to mark the victory of good over evil. It also marks the onset of spring. People across the world celebrate this festival by applying colours and throwing water-filled balloons at each other. Like any other festival, Holi also comes with specific sweets and snacks like Gujiya and Thandai. Akancha Against Harassment would like to wish everyone a happy and safe Holi, but with that it also hopes that people would be more mindful.

While it is a festival full of colours, sweets, banter and playful teasing, it is common for people to cross the line and take it to an uncomfortable side. Sometimes, people apply colours and throw water without the consent of other people. Even if involuntarily, popular culture has normalised this behaviour by songs. We all like humming to the tunes of ‘Bura Na Mano Holi Hai, Balam Pichkari, Aaj Na Chhodenge‘, and so many more. Rarely do we realise what they actually mean and how they glorify not asking for consent.

Harassment in the name of Holi: Why does it need to stop?

Before understanding why harassment should stop, it is important to understand what harassment means. Harassment is an illegal behaviour towards a person that causes mental or emotional suffering, which includes repeated unwanted contacts. This may be through online or offline mediums.

No matter what you do, consent should always be your utmost priority. By not asking for consent, you might create an atmosphere that breeds trauma. It is imperative to understand that Holi celebrations cannot become an excuse to harass anyone. Be it a man, woman or a child, we should realise that people have different ways of celebrating a festival. To put them through something only because it is the norm is not okay.

Some people are allergic to the harsh chemicals used in colours, which is why what is enjoyable for you might become a complete nightmare for them. If you are uncomfortable with anything that occurs in the name of Holi, you need to speak up and mark your boundaries. Are you not comfortable being touched? Let them know. If you are being forced by anyone despite you speaking against it, you must ask for help from the authorities and protect yourself. In case, you are unable to voice your concerns, you can always get in touch with Akancha Against Harassment. We will put you in touch with the right local authorities who will help you.

How to celebrate Holi mindfully?

– Ask for consent

– Be gentle and do not force anyone

– Understand that some people do not like celebrating Holi for reasons like:

  1. They are allergic to harsh chemicals in the colours
  2. It violates their personal space or triggers their traumas
  3. Some people do not like being touched
  4. Sometimes it turns into harassment