How often have we all heard the phrase “Bura na maano, Holi hai”? But to what extent are we not allowed to feel offended?

Holi is one of the most exhilarating festivals in the Hindu tradition which has grown in popularity all across the world. From colours and water to even gujia (sweet) and lassi, it’s a game of soiling everyone with everything. Kids run across streets splashing water on friends and strangers alike, greeting them with the standard statement – Bura na maano, Holi hai!(Don’t get offended, it’s Holi). This beautiful phrase also gives men the license to harass women and shout out foul names at them. But of course, we must not get offended, because it’s Holi after all. So what if I was thrown a water balloon at while riding a bike? So what if I could have fallen off that bike and injured myself? So what if I was abused for merely existing? It’s Holi and I…must… not…get…offended.

As children, many of us must have hung out at our balconies, throwing water balloons at pedestrians using this standard line. It’s not until we grow up when we realise how problematic this is. When the season of Holi arrives, consent becomes a joke, the streets become men’s playground and women, their toys. Those unwilling to play are tagged as “chickens” and then smeared with colour anyway.

Holi becomes an excuse to grope women publicly or to throw water balloons at their private parts. It is easy for men to get away with their actions because, well, they did say Bura na maano, Holi hai! The traditional consumption of bhang, liquid form of cannabis, on Holi, further contaminates the atmosphere with intoxicated men walking stray on the streets; predators in hunt for their prey.

Holi harassment took one of its ugliest forms in 2018 when two students from Lady Shri Ram College were attacked with semen-filled balloons in the middle of a street near campus in broad daylight. I guess I should be “thankful” that the balloons I was attacked by had only water. The campuses’ response to these attacks was merely reducing the curfew time in the girls hostels. Obviously, when the perpetrators are let loose, hiding inside our houses is the only way to stay safe.

Stop telling women to not go out on streets during Holi because “aisa toh hota hai” (these things happen). That is no better than telling us not to go out at night; not to wear revealing clothes; not to act too friendly; not to wear lipstick. Putting restrictions on women will not reduce crime. Stop the offenders, not the victims. I’m sorry, but I AM OFFENDED.

Feature Image Credits: Parag Soni Photography

Aditi Gutgutia

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Back home in Assam, Holi was just another two-day holiday from school because I was barely a festive person. Little did I know, as I moved to Delhi, Holi would become an endangerment with no redemptive courtesy, with flinging semen-filled balloons becoming the order of the day.

While Holi was to be only celebrated in the first week of March, the “celebrations” started hitting me hard from the end of January when the kids from my colony made traveling to and fro college a gruesome experience. The equation of most people with kids is based on how irksome they are. If they are cute and quiet, people mostly deal with them in methods which do not involve wracking or lambasting. But if they are like the rumbustious boys in my colony who, having just attended puberty, would drench you in tinted water just to see the outline of your bra through the shirt, they mostly deal with them in their minds, for the Delhi High Court banned corporal punishment in 2000. Things, however, started improving when His Highness, the Secretary of our colony, who hitherto hadn’t taken notice of this preposterous behavior until he himself got a scintillating zeppelin hurled at, brought an order from his honorable office instructing the balloon-propelling to be limited to 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.

By the time Valentine’s Day came, I knew enough to think of an excuse to escape the myriad water balloons, for I couldn’t show up dripping in colors of blue, yellow, and green for my date. Thus, when I saw those rowdy seven-year-olds approaching with nerve-racking pochettes, I let out meekly, “Tabiyat Kharab Hai, Please Jane Do.” (I’m not well, please let me go). To my incredulity, the leader amongst them, who looked like he’d probably bully little kids into giving up their tiffin in school, demanded, “Doctor ka receipt!” I’d leave it to your understanding the sequence of events that followed when I couldn’t produce that wretched piece of receipt.

I know they say “Bura Na Mano Holi Hai” (Don’t get offended, because its Holi), but when barbarity is disguised as a festival and freeway to harass people, in particular girls, I can’t help but be angry. Thanks to the feminist upbringing of college and the vehement protests of my sisters-in-arms, this Holi I’m allowing myself to be unapologetically angry. Let’s say it loud and clear- “Bura Mano Holi Hai” (Get offended, because it’s Holi). If consent is ruining your festivities, then guess what? I don’t care about your festivities. 


Feature Image Credits: The Dawn

Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak

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Nazariya- an LGTBQ+ Straight alliance organized a Bloody Pad Campaign on 28th February near Lady Shri Ram College raising their voice against rape culture and the misbehaviour women need to face during Holi.

Nazariya- an LGTBQ+ Straight alliance organized a Bloody Pad Campaign on 28th February near Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR). They conducted a march, held a public discussion on consent, the perpetuation of rape culture and Holi. This campaign took place after the incident where a balloon filled with semen was thrown at an LSR student near the college.

The campaign started at around 1:30 pm near Lady Shri Ram College. They marched from LSR to Amar Colony carrying posters and shouting slogans. Some of the slogans they chanted were “Semen Go Back”, “Ghoomne ki Azaadi” (Freedom to Roam), and “Pitrisatta se Azaadi” (Freedom from patriarchy). The march was also attended by Guremehar Kaur, who is an activist and an author currently studying at LSR itself.

The march was followed by a speaking session where the co-founder of the organization, Ruth Chwangthu and member Devyani Mahajan talked about the online and offline safety of women and consent. After the completion of the speeches, a public discussion was held on the subject. In one instance, an auto-driver came up to the members and talked about his grievances saying the hardships they need to go through Holi. He said they had to face being hit by balloons filled with semen and even piss. Talking to DU Beat, the co-founder said “Student alliances are fed up with such incidents. We felt like we had to do something. Colleges are not interested in taking action and even if they do, it feels as if they are forced to do so.”

The final event of the campaign was a play called “Dastak” performed by Asmita Theatre Group. The play was based on acid attack victims and sexual harassment. The play too emphasized on the balloon incident. The play was much appreciated by the audience. After the play, one of the members of the theatre group, Mr Sunil Prajapati said “We have been performing such plays since 8 years. We don’t want to perform such plays but certain incidents keep taking place that compels us to perform such plays.” The campaign concluded after the play.

Before the commencement of the campaign, the members of the organization along with the co-founder had to face backlash by a man who spammed the organization’s WhatsApp group and also called them up. After the completion of the campaign, he put up a post on Facebook along with videos targeting them.


Feature Image Credits- Nazariya

Karan Singhania

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As the University of Delhi rounds up with this year’s fest season and amidst a political ambivalence in the campus, the ideals of safety have been fervently debated by those within and outside the ambit of concern. The festival of colours which is often diversified into forcefully putting all sorts of elements on other people is often misused to sexually harass women, and under a garb of festivities, their safety is breached. However, instead of addressing the source of the problem directly, two girl hostels in the campus have decided to do what the nation does best: locking up women, emotionally and physically.

The International Student House for Women (ISHW) which comes under the purview of the University of Delhi issued a notice which stated:

“Holi is a festival of colours. To make it enjoyable for all of us, following decisions have been taken in the interest of residents. Residents and female guests will not be allowed to leave or enter the premises from 9 pm on March 12 till 6 pm on March 13. No late-night permission will be granted on March 12 and those desirous of playing Holi should go outside the residential block within the hostel premises.”

The Meghdoot Hostel also accompanied the above ideology, with a notice which said that “the main gate will remain closed from 6 am to 5:30 pm on March 13” and that all students were prohibited from consuming “any narcotic drugs in form of thandai.” It added that the students must not return to the hostel late in the evening on March 12.

The decision has been cited by the authorities as an “arbitrary move” to ensure “the best interest of the residents.” However, female students who had already been facing constraints with regards to time restrictions and other policies, are enraged with this unfair imposition. Far from addressing the issue and working on ways to solve the matter, the solution once again lies in the confinement of women to avoid the injustice of sexual harassment. The rhetoric of safety has been mobilised by housing authorities to consciously bar women from celebrating a festival, instead of strengthening ways to ensure their protection during this period. “Honestly, I avoid going out around the time of Holi and the day itself anyway.  It is extremely annoying and unsafe since people take the liberty of doing anything to you under the garb of Holi. The hostel thing makes some sense, since it in some ways acts on the same anxiety. But like I said, even without the circular which reiterated that I shouldn’t go out, I was in my right minds not to. So really, why do they leash us like we need it? If they insist on restricting our movement on the day of Holi, how about they lock the men up too?” said a hostel resident about the curfew.

Advocating along similar lines and fighting against the discriminatory rules and regulations in university hostels for girls, Pinjra Tod has been an active voice in raising concerns of hundreds of the residents. On speaking to a national daily about this diktat, they remarked, “The rise in sexual violence and harassment that women experience on the streets around Holi is barely addressed and instead once again, women are locked up for their ‘own safety’ and arbitrary restrictions are imposed on their mobility.”

Image Credits: Asian Age


Saumya Kalia

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With Antardhvani not seeing the light of the day this year, the University of Delhi has decided to give its students a colourful surprise, quite literally. Reliable sources have informed us of a refreshing Holi bash being organised by the university authorities to compensate for Antardhvani celebrations that were scrapped this year.

Rumours are doing the rounds that DU is likely to host this gala event at the Polo Ground in North Campus on 24rd. The Holi bash, insiders tell us, is going to be a a starry affair with celebrities such as Yo Yo Honey Singh performing, after his blanket ban imposed by the University was done away  recently.

This rumour is also accompanied by another. Apparently, water supply to DU hostels  will be stopped on the day of the festival, water tanks will instead supply to the main ground  where the glitzy event is scheduled to unfold. Though, as per some claims that arose that only ‘saffron’ colour would be allowed this Holi, the University has strongly denied such claims and has pledged for a ‘secular holi’ with all colours being used for the festivity!

To avoid Holi hooliganism, the organisers have decided to have different playing spots for girls and boys . A member of the organising team told us, “We are concerned about the safety and security of girls, hence we have taken this decision. With stars like Yo Yo performing, people will go berserk. So it is best to take such measures beforehand to avoid any mishaps.” Not so colourful a party after all, eh?

Entry to the celebration will be through valid college ID-cards and it has been made mandatory to wear white ethnic clothes to be able to enjoy the event.

P.S: This entire report was drafted when the reporter had had 5 bhaang ladoos and 2 bhaang thandaais, and is hence a ‘high’-ly credible report!  Happy Diwali !

Disclaimer: Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. It is only to be appreciated, not believed.

Featured Image Credits: thegreatadventurer.com

Riya Chhibber

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The Bharatiya Jabardasti Patriotic Party (BJPP) has issued a notification banning the use of all colours except shades of saffron during Holi this year.

The State office issued a circular to all manufacturers and suppliers of gulal and other forms of colours used in Holi to stop production and sale of all colours other than saffron. According to the circular, the only acceptable colours are yellow, amber, gold and orange. Other shades, especially red and green have been deemed as anti- national. The notification has faced heavy criticism from the Traders’ Association. Rangeeley Haath, a member of the association was caught saying, “The Bharatiya Jabardasti Patriotic Party has created much confusion in the market because of this move. The youth is demanding a variety of colours and is threatening to boycott Holi altogether if more colours aren’t supplied. This rule implies heavy losses for us.” 
The move has been criticised by other parties as well. A senior member from Alag Aadmi Party told one of our correspondents, “Ye saare rang miley huyein hain ji! Rango mein milawat hai, humaari Party ko phasaane ki scheme hai ye! We shall not let this happen. We are holding a dharna –cum –Holi party at Jantar Mantar this Friday in protest where all colours will be used.”

The Bharatiya Jabardasti Patriotic Party has also directed colleges to hold Rain Dance this Holi for their students, albeit, in accordance with the notification. The students unions of various colleges have started their preparations for the same.
Disclaimer: Bazinga is our weekly column of almost believable fake news. We strongly support a colourful Holi!

It is the end of Dilli’s bone-chilling winters and the beginning of the chubti-jalti garmi, and yes, Holi hai! The great Indian festival of colours is back with a splash and it’s time for dirty buckets full of gruesome concoctions, coupled with desi face painting. With a splash, old grudges and resentments are washed out. It’s also the time when our dearest television channels cash in on the festival, and have a field day broadcasting movie after movie on Holi, indirectly making us all spectators to the dance drama of white-sari clad heroines frolicking around daintily in gardens, avoiding the overly-masculine hero, with the background dancers gyrating in sync to perfectly timed and coordinated steps.

Holi is also the festival of forgiveness and a time to make amends, and according to our family friendly movie industry, the perfect time to indulge in the ecstasy of bhang and chase after the pretty girl. Over the years, Hindi movies have ensured that not a single popular festival is song-less and they seem to make them more and more clichéd over the years.

So here’s a list of the top 5 most clichéd and over used holi songs from various Bollywood movies over the ages:

Rang Barse – Silsila

The staple song for any Holi gathering; it is as typical as it can get. All-star ensemble cast, petals, bheegi chunris and plateful of colours with Big B chasing after his ex-flame Rekha with Mrs. Bacchan in the vicinity. Yeah, this would’ve definitely been the theme song for many love triangles looking for salvation back then.

Holi ke din – Sholay

Another Amitabh starrer, but has Dharmender dancing to impress Hema Malini. If you cannot forget the song, you also cannot forget Gabbar Singh asking his cronies in his characteristic style, “Holi…kab hai Holi”.

Aaj na chodenge – Kati Patang

This wonderful film starring Rajesh Khanna and Asha Parekh became a super hit in the year 1970. Adding to the success was this typically bhang-filled song, where Rajesh Khanna played the role of the quintessential hero, loving and quite obviously, teasing the heroine on Holi. Set in a rural setting, this song was definitely one for the masses.

Ang se ang lagana – Darr

The title says it all. This song looked more like a Tide ad than a music video and had a plethora of strange background dancers. Juhi Chawla looked pretty as ever. The only contrast was Shahrukh Khan as the obsessive lover boy.

Do me a favour let’s play holi – Waqt

Keeping the worst/best for last, this song had Anu Malik written all over it. Annoyingly nasal voice, funny dance moves, and a very awkward Akshay Kumar. This song was the mother of all holi songs when it came out in 2005.

Holi is round the corner and the balloon bombardment has begun! However, some people love it dirty and disgusting. Here are ten tips for those who don’t think colors and water cover the essence of the festival.

EGGS: Eggs are the first choice because they not only stink but really hurt when hit from a distance. They are slimy and once stuck to your clothes, hard to get off. Egg throwers should eggspect a few tears!

TOMATOES: Some people have taken inspiration from the Spanish Tomatina festival and started using tomatoes on Holi. If you like it even dirtier, save up some rotten tomatoes!

BIRD POOP: Yes, people do use bird poop. Mix it with gulal and smear it on people’s faces and you will get more than a few disgusted looks. So beware!

MUD: Wet mud i.e., keechad has always been a hot favorite on Holi. Apart from rubbing it on others’ faces, you can mix it with water and fill your balloons with it.

TOOTHPASTE: It is used just like gulal and has an upside too. It comes off easily. However some super smart people grab the mouth and rub it over your teeth!

GOBAR: Even though it is extreme, people love to make others puke on Holi. One gobar cake per head is just about enough to make anyone hurl.

INK: Fill it in you pichkaris and spray it on people. This is one colour that’s never coming off! Plus there are plenty of options, there is blue, black, red and even green. It’s liquid gulal that stays.

GREASE: Grease, not the pukka rang, but the oiling paste used in vehicles. It is black, thick, oily and extra sticky. For anyone wanting to make their Holi a notch dirtier, this is the thing to use.

SAUCES: They offer a wide range of choice and are edible, which is definitely a good thing. There is tomato sauce, barbeque, mustard and many more. Let’s not forget the chutneys-Coconut, mint, tamarind and many other varieties.

SPIT: You are your own manufacturer; you always have it and have enough of it! Spit in your hand, add gulal and smear it on your enemies’ face! Make sure he knows spit is involved otherwise where’s the fun?

You would be better off not using a few of these because the repercussions are definitely not going to be pretty!

Picture Credits: festivalsofindia-bb-blog.blogspot.com

With the final exams still at bay, the plans for this Holi must be materializing with intensity, excepting the days of mid-semester exams. Also, let it be known that our hearts go out to all those people who have their mid-semester exams a day or two after the festival. Nevertheless, taking a leap off the crooked road, this Holi’s plans can be summed up in two words: colours and fun – a combination that never gets old.

If we look back at all the Holis we have celebrated, there is always an incident that makes us regret our actions. Something as simple as not being able to visit a friend becomes a low point. We cannot make it perfect, but there is always room for improvement, to place in the “near-perfect” slot. It is possible that some of our friends are major introverts who perceive the festival as a punishment, and would rather read a book than participate in the Holi madness. This Holi let us try to step into their “boring” shoes and spare them with just a hug.

Once that is settled, another thing that can be looked after is the fact that we lose track of the line between the “good” conduct and the “bad” conduct. It is quite understandable, with all that adrenaline, it becomes really difficult to contain one self and we end up giving someone a black eye with a well aimed water balloon. The solution to this is quite simple; all we have to do is read between the lines and maybe let the other person approach us first.

Having taken care of the issues concerning our near and dear ones, we could try stepping out of our comfort zones and making someone’s day. Smear a pinch of colour on a beggar boy’s cheeks, give him some sweet (the likes of which you have already savoured in the early morning) and just wait for the smile to spread across his face. Too poetic? You have to see it, to believe it. The local stray dog could be fed, too. As the latest trend would suggest, you could photograph yourself feeding a Gujiya to the dog and post it on your facebook wall. Since the virtue of self-gratification is what motivates us, let us just say, selfishly, that this Holi is about receiving the priceless happiness of everyone around us. Make this Holi count.

Picture Credits: aryaniwashotels.wordpress.com

Shreya Bhardwaj

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India is known as a vibrant land, with its different cultures and varied ethnicities. Standing true to this is our country’s most colourful festival, Holi. With this eventful day just around the corner, be prepared to brandish that lethal pichkari at anyone who dares to attack you with a water balloon grenade.

Most people associate Holi with Holika Dahan, or the defeat of the demoness Holika. According to Hindu mythology, she was trying to kill Prahlad, the son of her brother, who was the almost indestructible king Hiranyakashyipu. An effigy of Holika is burnt on the eve of Holi as symbol of the triumph of good over evil.

Owing to the diversity of India, even festivals are not spared when it comes to celebrating them in unique ways. Initially restricted to the northern belt, over the years Holi has reached all parts of the country. As the festival traverses from one region to another, there are perceivable changes in the way it is played. In some cases, the name changes too. One such example is Rangpanchami, the name given to Holi in Maharashtra. As indicated by the name, people wait for the fifth day to apply colour on each other. It started out as an extremely popular festival amongst the fisher folk before spreading to the masses. Known as Shimgo in Goa, Holi indicates the arrival of spring. Playing with bright colours and water is often followed by a heavy meal consisting of a spicy chicken or mutton curry called Shagoti and sweets.

One of the most enthusiastic Holi celebrations can be seen in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. In some areas, men and women stand on two different sides, representing Krishna and Radha, and if a man is captured, he is made to dress like a woman and dance for everyone. In Haryana, Holi is usually a battle of the sexes. The Bhabhi or the brother’s wife gets to bully the Devar, or her husband’s younger brother. Things change slightly in Punjab, where it is given the name Hola Mohalla. This is an annual air, a practice that began during the time of Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth sikh guru. Holi is celebrated over three days here, with activities such as Bareback horse riding, standing on two speeding horses, tent pegging, etc are seen as acts of valiance.

Basant Utsav refers to Holi in West Bengal. Here, holi is played with a lot more dignity, and is a symbol of the onset of spring. This is due to its inception by Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. Another version of Holi played in this region is Dol Purnima or the ‘Swing Festival’. Children dress up in Saffron and wear garlands while they dance to the beats of drums. Idols of Krishna and Radha are carried in a palanquin around the city, making for a colourful and joyous procession.

Holi, with Tamil Nadu celebrating a version called Kaman Pandigai, is the perfect indication of how not all South Indian states are spared from its spell. This festival is named after the lord Kaamadeva, or the god of love. The legend states that Shiva burnt Kaamadeva to ashes when he tried to shoot an arrow of love at him while he was mourning the death of his first wife Sati. Kaman Pandigai celebrates the rebirth of Kaama when Shiva realises his mistake and brings him back to life.

Whichever part of India you might live in, it is hard to escape the clutches of this highly energetic and addictive festival. If a bunch of cheeky kids attack you on your way to college, rendering you completely wet, don’t lose your cool. Bura na mano, Holi hai.

Picture Credits: holifestival.ind.in

Vishakha Darbha

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