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These Women Are Celebrating Holi In The Most Unusual Way. By Smashing Patriarchy!

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We know India is a diverse country.  They told us that ad nauseam in our civics textbook. Then when election times came around. Basically, we know this. But even when you know it, the country manages to surprise you, time and again. Like we were doing our basic research on Holi is celebrating around the country and came across these two really interesting bits where Holi is not only celebrated, but also sends out a message. You have to know about it.

In Barsana in Uttar Pradesh, women were quite done with being the weaker sex. And they have chosen Holi to show their rather aggressive (possibly violent) side. In this otherwise relatively quiet town, things turn around a few days before Holi. The women don the vibrant hues of pink and red, and then arm themselves with sticks. Wait, what? It’s not all about shying away as men chase you to apply colour? Nope, here women are taking control. In what is an intriguing sight women can be seen chasing the men off with a lathi. The men scamper (for once) for anyone who gets caught in the chase becomes victim to the lathmaar and are then made to wear female clothing and dance in public.

Over time, this has become more symbolic than actual with the lathmaar just a gentle tap on the shield of a man who willingly sits down to demonstrate this age old tradition. Also, this special Holi has caught the attention of plenty of tourists so most of it now is quite dramatic and demonstrative, because we Indians and that’s how we roll.

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Prem ki Holi . . . . . As a most intelligent species, we tend to forget many things. Like many things we have forgotten, Holi is one of them. We have forgotten why we play it. So, the story goes back to Lord Krishna, he always used to lament to his mother about his dark complexion and why his beloved Radha is much fairer than him. One day mother Yashodha told him to put colours on her and himself so that the colour of their skin would be the same. After that event, we used to play Holi to break all the barriers between people of different caste, religion, section of society and colour of skin, as they all come together to celebrate Holi. But now Holi has become something else. It's a good thing to see the essence of Holi is somewhat left in Brij bhoomi. . . . . . . #holi2019 #holi #holiwithgppro #uttarpradesh #uttar_pradesh #uttarpradeshtourism #barsana #_coi #_soi #cntgiveitashot #ngtindia #lonelyplanetindia #yourshotphotographer #india #festival #india_undiscovered #discoverindiamagazine #iamatraveler #gothere #sonyalpha #sonyalphain #colours #people #streetsofindia #spicollective #creativeimagemagazine #eyeshotmag

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In another part of the country, women are abandoning tradition, patriarchy and age old customs to usher in the new. We are talking about Varanasi where as per old orthodox rituals, widowed women give up all trace of colour from their clothing after the death of their husbands. In 2013, the women of Varanasi flipping the bird to these stifling traditions, started enjoying the festival of colours. In 2018, the women of Vrindavan, also chained by archaic rules, broke the 400-year-old tradition to start playing Holi. They were joined by the women of Varanasi. The air was filled with joy and the hues of red as the women immersed gave into the joy of expressing themselves.

In Manipur, Holi is a six-day-long affair. The celebrations start on the day of the full moon, and later involves folk dances and playing with colour. The people prepare hay huts to burn to ward off evil of the holika dahan and girls extract money from boys to agree to play colours with them. This is all done in good humour, of course. But it sounds like the kind of Holi we would want to play.


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