‘Bura na mano, Holi hai’ has been the Indian pretense to assault women since as long as human memory can remember. ‘Consent’ seems to be a distant factor when the festival of colour swings by every year. And every year, the hooliganism seems to take on newer forms.
This year, many of the Holi horrors unfolded on the video-sharing app TikTok with videos of people forcibly putting colour on people went viral before Holi. Many of the videos, of course, featured women who were harassed for the sake of the video under the pretense of Holi celebrations.
In this horrible video, two boys can be seen forcibly dropping what appears to be mud on a woman after they removed her dupatta to uncover her face.
In another, a woman can be seen sitting with her head bent on the floor while surrounded by a number of reveling men and a woman. The men were pelting her head with color-filled balloons. Much like the last video, it did not look like the woman consented to the “celebrations”. Many such videos appeared on Tik Tok.
And these weren’t all. There were so, so, so many.
Even men were not spared. In this video, for example, a man can be seen forcibly putting silver paint on an older man who clearly did not enjoy the experience, neither did he give permission for it.
Many of the videos have been deleted from TikTok after backlash as some of them were clear documentation of assault. In fact, some were not even SUGGESTIVE of violence but actual depictions of assault and violence against women passed off as humour.
While the trend of violent TikTok videos that promote violence against women and violation of consent may be new this year, the normalisaton of such violence has been an unending process in India, what with films, songs and pop culture references promoting such behaviour as “celebration” and “mirth”. The fact remains that even today, many women such as possibly the ones seen in the videos, face misbehavior and assault on Holi.
And now, it looks like people are now monetizing such violence by putting videos of it on online platforms for likes.