DA Travelography

Un-Holi and Un-safe in Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh

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I was born in Lucknow and grew up in Bareilly and so, there is no doubt about my perfect UP roots. I did choose to leave UP, as I had enough of eve-teasing and living in the constant fear of my safety. However, I decided to go back to visit Barsana and Nandgaon (near Mathura) to cover its famous Holi celebrations. The festival is famous for its thousand-year-old traditions and photographers from across the world come over to capture the beautiful faces immersed in colors.

 

Lathmaar holi in Barsana, where men volunteer to be beaten by Lathi covering themselves by Dhal; following an age old tradition.
Lathmaar holi in Barsana, where men volunteer to be beaten by Lathi covering themselves by Dhal; following an age old tradition.

 

Women wear their wedding dress every Holi, covering their faces in long parda.
Women wear their wedding dress every Holi, covering their faces in long parda.

 

The women with covered faces being escorted by men to reach the ground for Lath-maar Holi
The women with covered faces being escorted by men to reach the ground for Lath-maar Holi

 

Being a photographer, it was something that I always wanted to capture and was even planning to organize an all women photography tour from next year onwards. However, after what I saw and faced here, I wouldn’t encourage any woman to go and experience it. I have been a solo traveler for the last 4 years and have traveled in more than 21 states of India, and there hasn’t been any place (except Kasol in HP to an extent) where I have personally felt unsafe or have been discouraged to travel as a solo-woman.

 

Like always, I was fully prepared covering my camera gear to protect it from water and colors and I was dressed as locally as possible in the traditional dress of Salwar-kurta and a dupatta. However I was not prepared for the nakedness of the mentality of people there. As soon as I entered Nandgaon , accompanied by two other photographers, I was surrounded and alienated by a group of men on the stairs. One after another buckets of color were poured over me, the pichkaaris were specifically targeting my breasts and posteriors and before I could understand what was happening, someone gave a pat on my bottom. That’s when I shouted back, my eyes were filled with Gulaal and I had no clue who did it. One of the photographer guys helped me escape or else there would have made more advances.

 

A group of women being targetted by menwomen being targetted in Nandgaon.

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I found a safe place for me to sit on the roof of the temple at Nandgaon and I was almost shaking in fear. Each female there a perfect target whether she was an 8-year-old kid or a 60-year-old woman. Surrounding a girl in a group and drenching her from top to toe; targeting her assets from their pichkari was the routine for them there. It all looked so obscene as a viewer for me, and I was in same situation just a couple of hours ago.

 

Jean wearing women are the primary targets.
Women wearing jean are the primary targets.

 

The women were panicking, a few mothers had their babies with them as well and somehow a few photographers found this situation as a perfect opportunity to photograph panicked girls instead of saving them. Such a bizarre society we live in, a society that finds these acts perfectly all right. The foreigner women were the most preferred targets, and I was wondering what impression would they carry about India and her hospitality. I didn’t move from my place for hours and waited for all this to be over, soon the police vacated the rooftop and I came down.

 

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Women with kids

 

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I was standing among four photographers shooting the transgenders who were dancing in front of the temple. Suddenly a hand came from behind and groped my breasts. I managed to catch the hand and saw two young boys, half my age, giggling. I shouted in my full capacity and questioned them on how dare they touched me? And the reply was “You are standing here in Holi, what do you expect?

 

I was in utter shock and then I looked around to find police; I saw that they were far away guarding the entrance of the temple. I wish someone could make them understand that it’s the women there who need to be guarded more than anything or anyone else. There was no announcement about women safety, not even once policeman came in to ask the boys to control their behavior. Apparently they were all following the age-old tradition when Krishna teased Radha and her friends on Holi and many stories and songs were written about them. But I am sure Krishna wouldn’t have grabbed, groped and outraged the modesty of Radha and her friends!

 

 

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So Holi was a perfect opportunity for them to touch women, and wouldn’t they do it any other day if they get a chance? I have been invited by UP Tourism twice in their annual conclave, which I haven’t been able to attend due to other commitments but I would surely be going next year to address the issue of women safety. As a women traveller we don’t need hot-air balloons flying over the Taj, we need safety and assurance for traveling in UP, else it has been and would always be avoided by women travellers.

 

Update: After I shared my account, hundreds of women came forward to share their horrific story about mass molestation in Nandgaon. I have always endorsed solo travelling for women, but now I am at loss of words. There are few places un-safe for women for travelling, but the list will keep growing if we don’t do anything about it. What kind of society are we building for our future generation? Lock up the girls at home, as it is not safe to go out!! Don’t speak up about molestation, as it is shame for the family. It is high time to think and act now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

52 comments

  1. To begin with let me stand up and salute you for taking up this matter and bring it up to highlight it. I have been going there from last 5 years+ now and this trend is increasing with every passing year. We always travel in a group and have many female participants with us. We try our best to protect them which we feel we do it with high success rate but will not be surprised if we hear from some of our female participants rejecting my claim of having protected them successfully. Every now and then we get requests from many female travellers there to allow them to be a part of our group and we have always obliged.

    Coming to the main issue, it is disgusting to the core and the entire blame goes to the way way they have been brought up to believe that women folk are to be played around with and Holi gives them that license to do anything they want with females. Police is nothing but a meek spectator, something like toy soldiers just standing there because they have been deputed to do so. they either turn a blind eye or become a party in the whole thing, giggling and having their own part of fun. So much so that while we were taking individual shots of our participants yesterday, quietly going through our routing in one corner, some 8-10 policewallas came and asked us to stop. One even threatened to to use force. they completely ignored a bunch of hooligans dragging a person on that dirty color drenched floor.

    We are doomed and failed as a society if we do not protect our women folk. these Women’s Day are only notional and its considered to be in vogue to wish them on International Women’s Day.

    Problem is much more deep rooted than it appears. Our moral system has corroded or did it ever exist. Nothing will change untill someone in authority takes a real serious note of this and gets acting on the ground.

  2. This is horrible. I have been hesitant in going to Vrindavan for the Holi taking Ekta with me for these fears and can see that the fears were not without a basis. This is evidence of a deep rot which has eaten our values and ethics. Thank you for highlighting this issue, both the government and people need to be made aware and sensitized about this.

  3. I feel ashamed to think where this land of ancient wisdom, culture and rich knowledge is headed. I am sick of the sick mentality of people here. This is the foremost reason sometimes I hate myself to be born in India, and to be born as a girl in India..even worse. I faced similar molestation years back during dussehra festival fare in my very own hometown. I was hardly 11 or 12 then. The images, the hatred, the humiliation and lots of other feelings and emotions that the incidence rooted deep within me never died. The wise say time is the best healer but no, this didn’t get healed. Now I am a mother to a daughter. Every day I feel like escaping this country. Yes I am blessed to have a circle of very good male friends, a good husband, good colleagues. But still the fact can’t be denied that majority of men in India are like these .. sick mentality, deprived of maturity, no humanity. I would not advise any foreign woman to visit in India..maybe not all parts of India are like that..but overall , it is very unsafe for women

    1. Neha, I empathize with you. I have travelled across the world and this kind of behaviour is not restricted to India. It’s extremely sad that we brush it under the carpet and harbour the hurt and the wound never heals sometimes. I endorse that India is as safe as rest of the other places in the world and we as a society are very warm but we do have incidents which are to be strongly condemned.

  4. One of the reasons I have never wanted to cover Holi anywhere in India..I have heard so much about the way women are treated. I was in school when my Hindi teacher used to say how they were targeted… so, I have really missed this festival.. Good on you to talk about it !

  5. This needs to be said, and I know it takes courage to write about molestation. I am so sorry Deepti that you had to face this. I feel a lot of our problems are law and order problems because the same Indian men behave impeccably in Dubai because they know of the consequences of not doing so.

  6. You are absolutely right..I am a boy From up..I have many boys who are my friends so I know why mat they think in there mind about women and not only up even all india experience is horrible. Pakistan is more horrible.. it’s women responsible to be aware and not to go alone at these locations.holi is a festival which is good to be celebrate with family and known persons only not with strangers.

    1. No. It is men’s responsibility to not molest and rape. Don’t put the blame on the victim, you are part of the problem.

      1. Yeah…that’s not what he said. Recommending awareness is NOT “blaming the victim.” It is you who are a HUGE part of the problem with your shallow thinking.

      2. It is a mans duty to protect women, not just an obligation – this sort of activity makes me embarrassed to be male and I apologise for their actions

    2. Hey, you, man up and deal with the CA t that you’re a 13 year old pervert or maybe a 30 year old MANLY Chap.
      Stop blaming the victim.
      How dare you even say that women should consider playing Holi with only known people? Why the hell can’t they go and play with strangers? Cause they’ll be molestated? No, they still will. Reason why they’re molested? Simple. Because guys like you, who have no bloody ethics or morals are out there. Man up and deal with the fact that you have a sick mentality and you soon better change that else you’ll regret meeting a person who’s physically a bit stronger and mentally a little less retarded and narrow minded than you.

  7. Holi is my favourite festival but I always restrict myself to a friend’s enclosed garden space with a closed circle of friends and family. The reason being as an undergraduate student in Delhi, I was playing holi with my girlfriends (a group of about 8-10 girls) outside our PG accomodation’s gate on the street in the posh area of Kailash Colony. A group of guys came out of nowhere in their jeep and jumped at us like they all wanted to eat us up. Some of us managed to flee inside the gate of our PG but my best friend was caught amongst them and they groped her breast, put their hands inside her bra while she struggled to flee. We all spent the day in shock and in tears. We never dared to venture out on holi after that incident. And I can never enjoy holi like I did before that, naive and fearless. Even boys as young as 8/9 spend their after school hours throwing water balloons at women walking on the street from their balconies and terraces days before and after holi. The sad part, their parents are part of it and feel no remorse when called out on their children’s behaviour.

  8. This is shocking but not unexpected from a society which treats women as a commodity, not a living person. Every year I have been avoiding to attend these festivals just because I don’t feel safe in my own country.

    This needs to told, voiced and fought for. I just compare Holi with Songkran of Thaialnd which is very similar and see how safe women are in that country. When are we going to learn ?

  9. Unbelievable! The entire episode you described here makes me really angry about how men objectify women! And that too so publicly? Do they molest the locals the same way they molested you?!!
    You had enough guts to take all this! You could have just left the place asap! This is absolutely not tolerable.
    I was always scared to travel solo to a few states in India, which I still haven’t. UP is one of them. I’m glad I didn’t.

  10. i myself wanted to capture the Holi celebrations from past two years, but as soon as time comes i have to drop out from capturing the celebrations because of the fact that women are unsafe there and they are being repeatedly harassed in the name of the Holi.
    I don’t know whether this scenario will ever improve or i will ever have the courage to go there knowingly that bad things can happen there.

  11. This was such an honest read. I always wondered why there are just glorified fascinating pictures of Holi. So much they make me nauseous. Each year I consciously not log on to media cos I simply don’t find anything appealing about the way Holi is celebrated. UP is notorious is full normalcy ,I dreaded to think about free will during festivities. Thank you for voicing out the experience. Yes it would take efforts to make them see the wrong, but honestly I don’t see much hope in the situation.. The skewed thinking is deep rooted for generations there.And a fickle political and law-order scene doesn’t leave much hope either.

  12. Such a shame, I did engineering nearby there only and i can easily relate to the horrible experience you had undergone here. I still prayed to change those days from life. Sorry for hearing it but thanks for sharing sonthat people can take enough caution to avoid such sufferings.

  13. I can totally relate to the incident. I went to mathura for holi last year and faced exactly the same harassment. Have vowed to never go back there.

  14. The Problem is deep rooted in the patriarchal structure of our Indian society. It happens everywhere in the name of Holi celebration in North India. But nobody bother to talk about this. I salute you for bringing this matter in the light.

  15. Being a part of this celebration this year, I vouch for the views expressed by the author. Did witness the men folk making use of the crowds to violate privacy of women, and just laugh it off. Would like to share a few incidents that I was privy to.
    There was this local lady was dancing to the local folk songs in the premises of Nandgaon temple. And was surrounded by 10-12 men who enjoyed dancing alongside. So far it appeared traditional and I enjoyed. After one song sequence they started with another song and she willingly continued her dance, apparently enjoying. And now she wanted to retire to the sides to much needed rest. But by now the men dancing alongside were fully warmed up to continue the dance. Their strong arms pulled her back to the centre of dancing circle of men folk. She tried at least five times to free herself from their clutches but the men’s hold was too strong for the lone woman. At this stage I decided to step in but was pushed aside. Not willing to give up I started looking for police party, wouldn’t dwell much on it. There were more such incidents which I saw. Having learnt my lessons I forced myself to ignore.
    But then there was this one which also needs to be shared here. She was a foreigner camera person who was probably troubled by a local. She immediately raised an alarm and the locals around caught the fellow and dragged him to the police. She was now bold enough to report the matter to the men in khaki. And police delivered ‘Instant Justice’ to the offender in adequate proportions. But dear Deepti Asthana, please do not bank on fellow Indians to behave in same manner in your case.

    SuDhir Varni

  16. My dream was to go to the Vrindavan, Mathura and Barsana at the to Holi. But after hearing this incident I will never go to that place at the time of Holi. Its really shocking.

  17. Why Nandgaao or Mathura.??.. Take any Indian City on Holi day.. It’s not safe for any woman to get out alone on Holi day .. You must have one or more male companions with you. That is a simple common sense any Indian Girl should have. (can understand if a girl is European or Foreigner) Going solo in the middle of Color ring is foolishness.
    Black sheeps can get horny and aggressive as on the Holi day they can hide their faces in Colors. The Girl is Idiot to dare and go solo on Holi day. The day has yet to come in India when every single woman can trust another Indian man as a brother or Father. Total foolishness just to defame typical age-old Indian Tradition. Nothing else.

  18. This isn’t just a problem during Holi. Women are unsafe in UP even otherwise. I can say this with full conviction because I have spent a lot of time in the state. Nothing helps. Not even being fully clothed. Why? Because the men have grown up thinking it’s OKAY to ill treat women. Lack of education and basic morality leads to so many crimes in the state , most of which go unreported. Like Jassi said, it is deep rooted and the only thing that can prevent is Strict law and order.

    In 2015, when I visited, I remember taking a few trusted locals with me and they formed a human chain around me. My dad was too apprehensive because he had heard stories. I remember I carried red chilly powder with me.
    Luckily there wasn’t any untoward incident because of the people with me and also because I was ONLY shooting around the VIP enclosure which had police protection. It’s so sad that policemen are deployed for VIPs but not for women.

    Mridula is so right when she says the same Indian men know how to behave in Dubai. Why? Because they know the consequences. Only if the UP govt did something absolutely severe, will these horrible men stop. The condition is really bad, Holi or otherwise. I see it whenever I visit. It’s impossible for women to travel solo in UP and I never ever advise it.

    It’s extremely sad to see this happen to a fellow photographer and friend. Supporting you in your cause Deepti! More power to you!

  19. Truth had to be told! Thanks Deepti for bringing this out of the closet.

    And no, it’s not just Holi, it’s any such gathering where people can pass themselves as anonymous faces in the crowd. Holi, of course has become the garb of biggest rowdiness in north India. And Mathura-Vrindavan etc are a perfect place where such deeds are glorified in the name of Krushna (what do you expect of people worshiping a God who steals clothes of bathing women? a normal person would be labeled pervert).

    I have seen it being done in Banke Bihari & Iskon temples by none other than the so called priests when I was just a child and the impact was such that I become an Atheist. If God is there and the priests are their agents, then he can’t make even his agents fall in line, forget about doing something (good or bad) to any other person.

    I can just hang my head in shame :(

  20. Sad and shameful! In the name of festival sheer hooliganism and torture are unacceptable. I do not think the situation will improve in UP and many other places, no matter how much we develop:(

  21. This year was my third trip in a row and since last two years have been organising tour groups for photographers. And as a tour operator I can only say it takes some seriius convincing to the the female queries that it’s not that bad. But then we cannot misguide anybody knowing that no mater what we do, Women will be targeted and there maybe some point where we moght fail to deliver in our promise of safe tour.

    Things go so far that I see male travellers avoiding females on the streets because thry know that thry too will become unwanted targets along with the females.

    Even though making the government listen to the woes is surely a must I would suggest few points for the women to consider if they are really looking forward to the event.

    First and foremost, DO NOT TRAVEL ALONE. I know this might be a somewhat unpopular opinion. But I am just writing on the attitude of “In Rome do as tge Romans”

    Secondly travel in big groups with a higher male ratio.

    Most of the locals population actually is mostly helpful and unlike the ones we encounter are eager to help and act more civilized. Take their help. Ask them to help them cross few streets or work up your timing waiting at one of the houses and taking a sprint towards your destination when the coast ferls clear.

    rest at the venue points the deployment of police is heavy enough that if you raise your voice. You are bound to be heard and adequate action will be taken for yoir safety. I won’t agree to the Point thay police there jist watches and does nothing.

    My take on the police is, as per my conversation with them, most of them have no clue what to expect. They are also lile visitors with no idea of the lay of the land. Thry too are targeted to the point where police in uniform doused in colours is a common site. Andbecause of the amount of crowd that gathers. Stampede and other much grievous mishaps take priority.

    So if you need help you have to ask for it. Becaise miscreants definitely are smart enough not to ill behave right in front of their eyes.

  22. Champions of the “Indian culture being bad” cause.. May be it is time you had a different voice in this forum.. Women all over the world like to party.. In the western world it is not uncommon for women to get drunk and go to after parties that last until early in the morning and find themselves a date.. some miscreants do exist in all societies which cannot be helped.. Indian women are not “holier than thou” and participating in festivals since the advent of time for humanity has been a mating and celebratory ritual. Let us not confuse ourselves here.. I do accept that things in India look skewed as males outnumber females by 5:1 but let me assure you that in my travels all over the world men act the same way in a festival.. Women are not any holier but any sexual harassment of course should be punished.. Did you file a police complaint that you were harassed?

    1. The comparison with western country is as usual innacurate and naive and I don’t see the point of it. And also I don’t know where you did get the number that males outnumber women by 5:1 in India. The ratio is 48.5 % of women for 51.5 men. That reflect a complete lack of knowledge and crosscheck so how can possibly your judgement be trusted.
      I am French, I have been into festivals, Parties, Night clubs all over Europe, in U.S. I lived in London for 5 years, seen women walking back at night very late, being alone in Public during big celebrations. I have never seen such things happening.
      I am not saying there is no molestation or physical abuse, there are of course, like anywhere else in the world. There are perverts everywhere.
      I am now living in Bangalore, and in the case of India most of it has for origin because of a miseducated male population and a patriarchal society that does not give to women the respect and the equality they should have. A lot could be avoided if boys were taught the arm they do by acting like they own the body of any women but they’re not given the mirror in which they would see in horror the arm they do because an untold consent is given to them to think and to act like that, like pervs. This issue is underlying in the indian society and not only during celebrations.

      1. Charly.. I understand your English might not be great as you are french and are linguistically challenged but you cannot take statements literally because this goes beying language into territory of being dumb! like when I say males outnumber females by 5:1, I am talking about how many women are out and about in a festival in India.. I have spent a large portion of my life in Europe and partied all over the place.. I speak a couple of European languages so I know what I am talking about.. How many Indian languages do you speak mate? let me guess none!

        One only has to look for articles on major German and french newspapers by typing sexual harassment and there are plenty. You hardly understand what it is to be Indian yet you confess here that you are a better judge of what is right for Indian men and women.. first of all., let go of your colonial mindset..

        http://www.sueddeutsche.de/muenchen/sexuelle-uebergriffe-und-ploetzlich-ist-da-diese-fremde-hand-am-po-1.3174529#redirectedFromLandingpage

        Please translate that into your sissy french and see what it talks about..!

        you are not better than anyone.. you don’t like it in Bangalore you can go anywhere in the world.. most comments here are from women that have an Indian name so that shows Indian women are pretty aware.. French marriages last an average of 5 years so take your moral preaching and shove it where it belongs..

        Last of all, saying you are french might give you reps among white women but it lends absolutely nothing with Indian women,.. if you are having a tough time getting mobile contacts of women in India it is probably due to your superiority complex so telling me you are french for arguing about male tendencies in India in a festival lends no credibility to your argument so shove it!

  23. I am short of words and not sure how to react to this unfortunate situation. It’s shocking and sahmeful. There are many such events in our country when people get license to do anything, especially religious gatherings.

    Deepti – I can understand how your confidence as solo traveller would have been impacted by this episode, but be strong and be cautious.

  24. We should…. If we all, men and women indifferent stand against them…. It could be stopped…. C’mon that could be anyone, my mother, my sister, my girlfriend, my aunt anyone could be the next victim…..

  25. This is utterly atrocious. I always wanted to go and witness Barsana but now I am not sure if I will ever do that. Not unless the security and safety of women becomes top priority and they are actually safe. Its high time now.
    Sometimes I wonder, if these people behave this way, what exactly do they teach their sons’ and don’t they think twice about their daughters’. Its still a mystery to me that exactly what goes on in these obnoxious creatures’ minds.

  26. Hats off for speaking up. I have never been to the world famous Vrindavan holi. But if this is how it is then my resolve to go there next year weakens. It’s shameful that so many bloggers, photographers and print and news media cover the festival every year but few show the reality. Kudos to you and Divyakshi for exposing the bitter realities. It’s shameful that in the name of religion, mass female molestation is sanctioned. This is the dark and ugly side of North India and Hinduism. The good thing about Hinduism is that it’s open to reform and criticism. I hope authorities and the locals take a stand and things change. Unfortunately, I have also read many accounts of foreign bloggers who have suffered such behaviour during Holi elsewhere in India, mostly North India. I am sure the Gods don’t approve it. But who cares!

  27. Hated Holi growing up! have these memories of terror on the day of holi every year there use to be stories about some girl being captured by some guy or gang of guys n being molested in the name of holi. I always stayed away from holi even when around relatives cause saw some relative capturing a girl and women and would want to put color without consent was so common. I remember i use to lock my self morning to evening and even use avoid going out for next few days. I grew up in a small town and not just Holi the fear of molestation was so common during most festivals like dushera navratri etc. going out was such a nightmare during my teens that i feel it has an impact of my out look towards life n hesitations in general and the worst part was shaming if you a victim of a molestation situation its you who is resposible not the boys. Oh the slut shaming name calling all this stays with you I really wish the things are different and people know how to behave and most importanly respect a girl no matter what she wears how she talks how many guys (or girls) she dates.

  28. As I was growing up : Holi always had that fear of Terror in my Mind all thanks to those Small Water Balloons and Bags on the Streets and also hearing Stories of Uttar Pradesh and his Fear Files. So never ever gathered the Courage to travel to UP but the Situation and the Trauma which you have faced is Level of Terror which cannot be tolerated.

    Looking at the UP festivals, and reading the Blog posts of our Fellow Bloggers made me think : UP might have Changed but this Blog Post is truely and Eye-Opener More power to You Deepti ! Thanks for coming up and sharing the Truth behind those False Colours of Fakeism.

  29. Thank you for writing for this. I hope you have recovered from this experience.

    We should stand united to stand united against this atrocity which people are doing in the name of tradition and culture. Not even young kids should be taught that it is okay to treat a woman any way he likes.

  30. This is a horrible story . That’s why holi is Un-Holi, It is clearly visible as most of pupils are leaving their home on the eve of Holi and go for excursion . Everyone who believes in social customs & respects women’s dignity must condem the act.

  31. @Charly you are bang on. These retards cannot tolerate your criticism because they are entitled with their stupid male privilege to the point of being deaf, dumb and blind. I have lived in Europe, India and US. how is it possible to compare any other country with india? I was grabbed on holi when I was an eleven year old pre teenager. These guys appear holier than thou in public and if they get a chance they take out their repressed sexualities on the vulnerable. Hate holi, it’s festival where only perverts celebrate. Sorry, but I’m scarred from my childhood.

  32. Have heard of such incidents, but this is the first time I’m reading the firsthand experience! Hats off to you for coming up with the post. I really have no words…. I just tried to imagine the conundrum and it gave me a chill :-(

    This is why many foreign travellers also have stopped visiting our country. We should stand against it, spreading the words on social media. I hope more and more people will share the post so that it catches the attention of someone who is in the position of taking action!

    We all are with you.

  33. Why do women needs to speak up when someone is sharing her own experience ? We are in 21st century and we still need others shoulder to cry our past , why didn’t you raise your voice at that time ? Who are you afraid of ? I read many comments here and many of them said that they knew such things are happening so why didn’t you raise your voice ? Why do you want others to suffer ? Why can’t you do something which someone has done today ?

    What’s stopping you ? Stop acting weak and start reacting, when you can give birth to a child then you can do anything in this world that strong you are, we men are pathetic creature in this world who are worse then the Cancer and AIDS bcz there is a cure for disease which shows symptoms but there is no cure for something which is in mind.

    Don’t wait for someone to suffer what you have gone through.

  34. I had seen this also now m vrindavan but shame on the people what they are doing. I support u for this cause ……let’s make start to stop this

  35. Kasol? HP?
    Who the hell told u its not safe for a woman?
    Hah i bet u .. be there for once no other state would be as safer as HP in India!
    Sorry for comment only about this but just as I read abt Kasol in your article there was nothing left me to read after it !

  36. Not to mention Holi,whilst escorting some next generation around Vrndavan we came to Radha Kunda,considered the liquid mercy of Goddess Radha,after taking bath,my friend went behind a wall to dress and was molested .I felt so ashamed that such an incident would take place here.Indian men have zero respect from me….zero !
    Please be careful here in Vraj.Even a old Russian lady,60 years of age molested whils doing parikrama.The indian government needs to address this big time.

  37. Born in a Hindu Household, I have personally been fond of following customs. But, the hooligan holi festival I have always prefered to celebrate with only my closed ones. This time the spirit of festivity got the better side of me. I wanted to experience the holi at Vridavan, despite knowing of how bad the bad can be, we decided to be adventurous.

    Ofcourse, I went with my trusted guy friends to “protect me in any adversity”, yet what we didnt expect was misbehaviour by the holy- men, the so called pundits. The crowd was welcoming near the banke-bihari temple, the tourists were friendly and the localites were making merry (clean-way)

    Amidst the chaos and hullaboo infront of the main shrine, a yound pundit dressed in dhoti covered in Gulaal wanted to have a conversation with me. Obviously, I was in no mood to step that boundary of “friendship” so I simply ignored. He then pushed me (physically) to get my attention and asked me to step out of the temple and claimed that area was only meant for holy-men to stand. Belonging to Uttar Pradesh and having the liberty of speaking the local language I tried to explain how my friends and I had decided that spot to be a meeting point so moving out was absolutely an impossible advice I would oblige to, considering none of us had a phone. He acted a little cheeky and started to smirk and aim the pichkari on me. To which I strongly reacted to. The lawyer and the slight social activism in me came out that very moment and I increased my pitch , pure self defense. To be honest, I was just threated and scared, intimidated by being surrounded by men !! I didnt want to be harrassed and I didnt want any one around me to be in that situation.

    That pundit man went a step ahead and now started to tease another lady in front of me – that feeling of helplessnes and anger consumed me and I was just in a hurry to leave the premises of the temple – banke bihari

    Jai shri Krishna . Radhe Radhe , all I wanted to do was cause harm to that pundit. Not a single police woman, not a single lady pundit. Yet, I want to go again to Vrindavan and want to restore my culture, I want to make sure my religious places are not hijacked by these goons.

  38. I’m a Canadian women that celebrated Holi in Vrindavan last week. It was the most objectifying and dehumanizing experience I have ever had. Men treated me like an object that existed only for their amusement. Overall, the couple of months I spent backpacking through India were positive, but Holi was a horrible experience. I appreciate that you took the time to write this article and shine some light on the dark side of Holi.

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