Our city is one of the best in the World , we boast of being a hospitable host since years, with a great sense of pride we say ‘Padharo Mhare Des’, ‘Atithi Devo Bhav'(guest is like God) is our core culture and then when we hear incidents of harassment from our guests, imagine the amount of loss this place, this country, this culture have to bear. Cornelia, an Austrian citizen was excited about the festivals of color, she loved the idea of people applying different colors on the face and the color of your face keeps changing every moment, she had absolutely no idea that her delightful Holi going to be a lifetime lesson for her.She made a long Facebook post expressing her grief on the shameful incident, the post has close to 400 Facebook shares that too worldwide, mostly western countries which is really tarnishing the image of our country.However in her Facebook post she didn’t mention the city, she just posted a picture of Jagdeesh chowk, Udaipur. To confirm the actual fact we tried talking to her in person and she confirmed “Yes! it happened in Udaipur” we asked her about the exact place of the incident and did she file police complaint to which she said,”No, I didn’t go to police. Most of it happened in a crowd of people (place in front of Jagdish temple), so I don’t even know who was involved, some incidents happened on the streets with guys driving by on motorcycles (on the way to cross the lake to the other side of town) and the rest happened on the other side of town on the streets.”
However there was security deployed in that area but without the cooperation of the residents it’s difficult to maintain law and order. We need to introspect because only we the residents and citizens of the country can change the situation, only we can help to make our guests feel safe, only we can take the responsibility of the safety of each guest visiting our country, only we can establish the ‘Atithi Devo Bhav’ culture.
Here’s the Facebook Post made by Cornelia Dworak
“Some days ago I experienced the HOLI Festival – festival of colors… and SEXUAL HARASSMENT.
People on the street wish “happy holi” and then smash colors in your face. In the morning everything starts quite nice and polite, it’s fun exchanging colors and watching your face design change every other second. But there was a moment when I asked my travel friend, if he also gets hugged by all the guys. He said none of the young Indian men tried to hug him. By midday my ass had been grabbed several times and young men that wanted to take selfies had touched me on several spots of my body, including ass and boobs. I wanted to get out of the crowd and find a quiet place somewhere. This mission happened to be a mission impossible as there were groups of guys everywhere – rushing through the streets on motorbikes or gathering on the street – that seemed to have lost complete control, not to mention respect towards western women, and had a very aggressive straight forward attitude. I got slapped in the face by one of three guys passing us on a motorcycle and hit by several water bombs thrown at my neck. Then one guy asked me if he can kiss me, I said no and lied about my friend being my husband… which didn’t change anything at all, as I had to jump up cause he just tried to kiss me. By the time (maybe 2pm) I could only see young men on the streets and for the first time in India didn’t feel safe anymore. Not even a male company seemed to impress those guys.
To get me out of target zone we walked towards a restaurant with a rooftop terrace we already knew. Therefore we had to pass a pathway between a river and a house. I could already see maybe 6 or 7 guys play fighting on this path and stopped, but as they said it’s just fun and opened the way for me to pass, I thought I’m good (although I didn’t really like the idea of walking between them with the only chance to move forward or backward). When I passed they kind of jumped on me, at least 3 of them and hugged me, touched me and tried to kiss me, with my back against the wall. I think the others separated my friend from me. I somehow managed to push through them out of the sexual harassment zone, whereas they tried to follow. My friend said he pushed one of them aside. I couldn’t see anything, it all happened too fast. I just knew that it was not fucking safe anymore. We waited for 2 hours at the restaurant before getting back to the accommodation.
I spent a lot of time thinking about the incidents and my friend read an article about women in India and that actually smiling at a man, not to mention physical contact of any kind (even shaking hands), uncovered shoulders, hugs and selfies should be avoided.
So it’s all on the women’s side again?!?
I feel angry and upset towards myself, that I always evaluate my behavior before I react. And as a woman, I always think I might overreact to a situation. And then again I’m angry that I’m angry with myself. That makes no sense at all. Cause it’s men’s misbehavior. I want to fight against this social fact that women always have to defend their behavior whereas men so many times just get away with it. If a man gets touched by another man, there is an immediate direct reaction. They would never think about the possibility of overreacting. Never. They just react how they feel. It really pisses me off, that it’s so hard for me to just do the same. To say, no it’s not okay to stare at me, no I don’t like you touching me (even if it might be without any sexual motive… which my friend points out never happens… there is always a hidden motive if a man touches a woman). I fucking hate being a target and I fucking hate the men that make us women feel odd when we draw the line, giving us the impression we overreact. NO WE DON’T. We have the right to say if we don’t like what’s going on. And we need support by all the men that see it the same way. Stand up for our rights!”
Our appeal to the travelers Worldwide
India is beautiful so are the people, anti social elements are everywhere and these elements get further charged on the occasion of Holi so kindly stay safe, avoid getting into crowded places with strangers, in India Women celebrates Holi mostly with the friends and relatives within locality and avoid getting into places filled with strangers.