Holi is an Indian spring festival that signifies the winning of good over evil. However, there is a darker side to this festival of colors. Let’s dig into various horrors of Holi.
Bura na mano Holi Hai
“He and his accomplices pinned me down to throw colors at me. No one tried to help me.”
“I was touched inappropriately, but I couldn’t protest. I was told not to ruin the festive spirit”
You hear numerous stories like this, where women are cat-called, teased, groped, harassed. “Bura na mano Holi Hai” translates to “Don’t feel bad, it’s Holi”. This catchphrase is often wrongly used as an excuse for misbehavior. Did you know women are even attacked with semen-filled balloons? It’s no wonder that many Indian women hate Holi celebrations.
Originally, Holi colors were produced from natural sources. Green from neem leaves, yellow from turmeric, red from red sandalwood, etc. Eventually, we moved to cheap and easily available chemical colors. The price we pay for this is our health and environmental pollution. These industrial colors or dyes are never intended for human use. And can cause problems ranging from skin and hair damage to eye infections, poisoning, etc. So, we urge you to go natural and also follow strict protective measures.
For most people, Holi is Rang Aur bhang. Bhang is made from leaves of the Cannabis sativa plant. It is an edible paste and is consumed by making drinks out of it or even in sweets. Excessive consumption of bhang results in dehydration, headache, hallucinations, addiction, etc. Often bhang bought from unauthorized stores can be of compromised quality and causes a variety of repercussions. These milky cannabis-infused drinks taste very similar to other beverages. At times, victims are drugged by offering bhang in the name of other soft drinks and then are assaulted.
Water is wasted not only for applying colors but also for removing them. To give you a rough estimate, it is said that 20 million liters of water are consumed for Holi in a small city. Now, if we extend these statistics for the whole country, the amount could be humongous. A report by WaterAid stated that one billion out of four billion people facing water scarcity are Indians. So, in a country where every drop matters, is it really necessary to misuse so much water in the name of celebrations?
Holi parties and accidents go hand in hand. In 2016, more than 30 people died in various accidents in Uttar Pradesh. The number of people admitted to the hospital increases multi-fold during the festival. Drunk driving, slippage due to water spills, group clashes are to be blamed for this.
With adequate precautions, Holi can still be a fun festival when celebrated with loved ones. Wishing you a safe and happy Holi!