New Delhi, March 2: Holi has become hooliganism, literally. The joyous festival of love, friendship and togetherness is fast turning into another weapon of patriarchy to harass women. We have come to such a stage that semen-filled balloons are thrown at young college-going girls in the name of Holi celebrations in the national capital. And when they object to such grouse and outrageous behaviour, onlookers ask them to silently endure the harassment because "bura na mano Holi hain (don't mind, its Holi)".
The horror in the national capital does not end here. On Thursday evening, CCTV cameras captured the brutal attack on a young man by a gang of bikers in Delhi's Khanpur area. Ashish, who is in his mid-twenties, was stabbed at least 50 times by 20 men. The victim was also beaten up by iron rods by the bike-borne assailants.
While nobody came to Ashish's rescue during the attack, later onlookers took him to a hospital. Doctors told reporters that Ashish's condition is critical. The police filed a complaint against unknown men. Reports say the victim was attacked because earlier he saved a boy for being beaten up by the 20 men after he threw water balloons at them.
In the last few days, several female students of various colleges under the Delhi University were reportedly hit by semen-filled balloons. Two of them have narrated their "disgusting" experience on social media too.
Recounting her experience to a television news channel, one of the victims said that when she was travelling on a bus recently, a group of men hit her with a balloon from outside. It was filled with semen. When she raised her voice against the men, a women co-passenger told her "bura na mani Holi hain" and rest of the public were seen laughing at her.
As a part of the Holi festivities, mischief-mongers often throw balloons filled with dirty water, harmful colours and eggs on others, especially women/girls. This time they have crossed all the limits by throwing semen at women.
On Thursday, students and teachers of the varsity protested outside the Delhi Police Headquarters to demand better security measures for women. Holding placards and raising slogans, the protesters demanded that Holi can't be an excuse to molest women. The teachers and students asked the police to increase patrolling around colleges in the national capital.
Describing the agonising incident, a student of Jesus and Mary College (JMC) wrote on Facebook, "Till yesterday, I had just heard about semen throwing at girls and my heart was broken to hear it. Today I was the victim to it and that was when I wholly realised and understood the absolute depravity of human beings. I would have said humans behave like animals but then that's a disgrace to animals in itself."
A few days ago, in an Instagram post, another student expressed her anguish after being hit by a semen-filled balloon. She wrote that within minutes of boarding a rickshaw from Amar Colony, a balloon hit her hip.
"It burst open, its content seeping into my dress. It dried white on my black leggings, and the foreign smell clearly indicated that it wasn't water," she said, adding that she did not know what it was until a friend told her "semen-flinging...was currently the Holi fad in the back market area".
"Not a single person in that busy market batted a single eyelid at the sight of men throwing such balloons," she added. In the wake of rising attacks against women, the Delhi University had announced elaborate security arrangements on campus and hostels on Monday.
Harassment of women during Holi is not new. Hooligans take licence to tease, molest and even rape women. Thus many girls and women avoid venturing outside their homes for the fear of being harassed by revellers on streets. Many people also don't play Holi as a "safety measure" because predators look for excuses to harass women while smearing colours on faces.
Over the years, we have witnessed how a beautiful festival has been degraded to depravity by criminals to fulfill their monstrous urges. The Delhi University student is right when she said that hooligans can't be even compared to animals because that will be a disgrace to animals.
Unfortunately, we have reached such a stage when animals are behaving in a better way than humans. To witness such perversion during the pious festival of colours further paints our society in a poor light.