Thu, 29 Feb, 2024

Are We Going In The Wrong Direction?

By Bimal Gaire

Holi is the festival of colours. It brings happiness around the country and the whole environment becomes blissful.  People gather around and play with different colours. These colours represent the purpose of life; happiness, prosperity. At least for this day, they forget all their sorrows and shortcomings of life. Some of the most cherished moments can be discovered within the midst of these colours.

But, over the years, the way of celebrating this beautiful festival has been drastically compromised. It is becoming one of the major social problems for some if not for all. Actually, nowadays Holi starts way ahead of the day of celebration. And the main victims of this huge social problem are young girls. They are hit with balloons and small pouches full of water called ‘lola’. Generally, the water used is very dirty and can have a bad effect on health.

Because of this, some of the girls are reluctant when it comes to going to school or even stepping out of their homes. Girls who go out for their work are targeted by small children and young boys. More than a festival, it is becoming a targeted campaign. Many of the girls go through mental pressure. Who would want to be teased and hit by dirty water? And the ironic part is that when these girls are hit by ‘lolas’, no one bothers to protect the girls. The thing I hate the most is the mentality of the people who just sit and watch around. They simply laugh at the girls and carry on with whatever they were doing. Most of the girls run away after being hit but some mighty ones, they try to fight; they shout at the boys who hit them but can do nothing without anyone’s support. Their effort all goes in vain. Yes, this festival comes only once a year but no one has the right to dominate and create problems for  others.

Also, some people, they form a group and move around the streets shouting, singing and simply creating noise. They are the ones who get drunk and speak in inappropriate  language. Most of the people try to avoid running into these groups. Their faces are generally pelted in shiny bleach. Honestly, they seem really dangerous. When I was walking late in the evening, a small boy came to me and said, “Uncle, there are some people. Can you help me cross that street?” I said yes and helped the kid. Even I would have been afraid to pass through the street if it wasn’t for that kid.

Likewise the issue of unsafe dyes used in Holi is becoming problematic. Many dyes can be linked to skin irritations, eye problems and long term side effects. The worst thing is that even after several days these dyes still streak your face.

At around 3.P.M the whole thing ends. People go to their houses and clean themselves. The streets are all covered with colours and these small plastic bags and no one even cares about the pollution. Even several weeks later these bags still fly around the streets. And people say, “Our government is irresponsible. Someone should clean it.” Isn’t that ironic?

I am not saying that we should stop celebrating Holi but we should be sensible and responsible enough not to harm others. The tradition of targeting girls with dirty water should be stopped once and for all. Even though there are some laws against these kinds of activities, the ultimate solution hasn’t been found yet. Police are trying to minimize the violence against women by arresting the bad guys, but people are not complying with the rules. The situation is even worse in the inner streets where police don’t patrol.

Let’s act civilized. Let’s celebrate this wonderful festival of colours with happiness all around. Let’s change the tradition and let’s raise our voice against the violence against women.