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Dark Side Of Lath Maar Holi That All OF Us Are Not Aware About!

Holi the festival of colors is predominately celebrated in the northern region of India. It is the only day of the year when we happy smear colors, and love to get splashed in the water.
As kids we have all waited for this day the whole year. The only day when our moms didn’t scream on us for remaining wet for hours.  It is the time of the year when our friends evade our houses and we terrorize the people on streets with balloons.
Holi is the most boisterous festival of India. As adults it gives us another chance to be a kid again and let the naughty part come out of us.
Now as we are adult we can wander anywhere we want. Holi is celebrated differently in different parts of India.
Mathura’s Lath Maar Holi is most popular among Indians. Most of us , at least once in our lifetime want to experience it. While in cities and towns this festival is celebrated for just one day, Barsana and Nandgaon smear themselves in the color of festival a week before the day.
Lathmarholi which means beating with sticks literally lives up to every bit of its name. The females hit the males with a stick but playfully and men try to protect themselves from the women.
However, everything has a dark side too. Beneath this playful festival, is a dark side that allows sexual harassment. It is not just about losing control and enjoying every bit of it. It often leads to groping and molestation.
Writer MeghanaSanka sharesher experience of lath maar holi which she can’s forget in all her lifetime. After reading this you will probably think twice before going to the Braj province

“A Sadhu stared at my breasts and before I could react, put his elbows out, rubbed them against my breasts and walked away. So much for being a Sadhu !”
While we were rounding up our bunch of people, a few locals came up loaded with their big pichkaris and aimed at my posterior and another friend’s back. We tried to move but their pichkaris followed. We hurriedly left the temple only to find that the water had trickled down to my thighs and it was burning.
That’s when a friend told me, they mix Shira (glass powder) and aim. My inner thighs were cut raw with the glass powder and I was in immense pain. I could barely walk. I took a seat on a wall for witnessing the Lath Maar Holi.
“Legend has it that the boys of Nandgaon are supposed to tease the girls of Barsana and Nandgaon so much that they get tired and come to bash them up with lathis. The boys made vulgar hand gestures and used the choicest of abuses individually on a lot of girls, especially those who weren’t locals. I don’t know if this is what the legend talks about. It surely did not seem like the Indian culture we boast of. If the boys can talk this way to random girls during Holi, there is no guarantee that they don’t do it on the rest of the days.”
She added, “After the show was over, we walked back to our cars and I endured the pain throughout the journey. My thighs did not stop burning. Even after 2 days, I can’t walk since the skin is still raw. Another friend told me later, “They mix Shira knowingly. They want women to remember who they played Holi with.”
Pictures by Deepti Asthana

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