Why I don’t play Holi?

To this day, “Holi hai” sounds like a war cry to me, a justification to attack me in any way they wanted, with no consequences.

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Celebrity couple Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra sharing photos of their first Holi festival – Photo: Jonas Twitter
By Sachi Nelli | EDITOR’S PICK | INDIA |

I don’t play Holi for the simple reason that from the ages of 6-13 years, where I did participate in the festivities, I got molested.

It scarred me. To this day, “Holi hai” sounds like a war cry to me, a justification to attack me in any way they wanted, with no consequences.

Raising my voice meant that I was behaving outside the norm. I was just supposed to wear white and let it all happen. Why am I being such a spoilsport? When I got my period I began using it as an excuse for each Holi to get out of playing.

Menstrual stigma trumped Holi stigma.

I still can’t watch the celebrations without experiencing residual feelings from my past experiences, manifesting as memories or anxiety attacks.

Holi is the symptom of a sexually repressed society. We don’t talk about sex but have an annual anything-goes fraternisation party.

It’s also worth mentioning the great contributions of Bollywood in promoting the non-consensual actions under the garb of “Holi hai”. All acts are acceptable because there is divine blessing.

We need to seriously reconsider Holi in the context of consent. But will we?

The article was adapted from Sachi Nelli’s entry at her Twitter page @nellipiercing

 

RELATED STORY:

Hola Mahalla – Encyclopaedia of Sikhism (Asia Samachar, 6 March 2015)

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