Gulaal wars between friends and family, a LOT of food and bhaang/thandai induced stupor; Holi is known for many things. Unfortunately though, enthusiastic consent before playing Holi with bystanders, isn’t one of them. Thanks to decades old conditioning of ‘ iss tyohaar mein toh hota hai’ and the social sanction sponsored by ‘bura na maano Holi hai’, consent goes out of the window.
In order to make it easy for those who do not understand that ‘no’ literally only means no, here are a few illustrations to help drive the point home.
1. Do NOT dunk water/throw colour/ aim water balloons on strangers just going about their day because YOU are in the mood for Holi. No festival is a valid reason for hooliganism. Ask before you force people to participate in the festivities you so enjoy, because guess what? They may not.
2. No matter what age, what gender, what circumstance, CONSENT IS KEY to everything. Even Holi.
3. ‘Bura na maano Holi hai’ does not excuse you touching a woman/man without her/his consent. It does not excuse sexual harassment in the garb of festivities. Try not to be a predator this Holi.
A whole lot of us have been playing Holi, and generally existing, without accidentally sexually harassing, molesting or violating consent in any manner. If we can, you can too.
Have a happy and safe Holi, folks!