Valentine's Day! No Thanks, we are Indians!
By Alka Pande : The Valentine Day - when love is celebrated across the world, especially by the youth, has brought together this year two young but strange bed fellows - unfortunately not in favour of love but strongly against it.
The youth wings of Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist groups - Durga Vahini/Bajrang Dal of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIO). Well prepared for the day like all the previous years, both the groups have advised the youth to refrain themselves from celebrating the day. Written statements have been issued by the youth wings of these staunch religious outfits on the eve of Valentine Day. The language of their statements matches their fundamental views.
If the Hindu organisation has innovated a term 'Love Jihad' the Muslim group has tried to establish its theory, according to which,
'pre-marital sex was considered wrong since the beginning of humanity'.
The Hindu organisation is known for its aggression against the Valentine's Day. Each year its members volunteer for moral policing
and chase girls and boys in parks, restaurants and other public places. On several occasions they also resorted to violence and
thrashed the youngsters celebrating the day with friends.
Both Bajrang Dal/Durga Vahini and Student Islamic Organisation of India have referred closeness between a man and woman as 'immoral and indecent'. Durga Vahini Chief of Delhi Sanjana Chaudhary has gone a step ahead and advised the girls to beware of 'love jihad' although she has not explained what exactly this 'love jihad' is.
Notably, the same Durga Vahini remained undeterred by frequent rapes and other violence against women in the country, up till now. Even the most brutal Delhi rape case failed to budge the organisation. But, the Valentine Day has suddenly alarmed Durga Vahini about women safety and it also launched a helpline 011-23616372 for women. Two women members of the organisation have been deputed for 'guidance and support' to women.
VHP has also sent letters to all senior police officer, pubs, hotels, discotheques and other such entertainment places in Delhi and other states to check 'narcotics, nudity, immorality, indecency and illegal act at public places and save the girls'. The police have also been asked to restrict all those activities which may 'harm the security and modesty of women'. According to Durga Vahini and Bajrang Dal, "love requires privacy and not public display".
The student Islamic Organisation of India has justified its opposition to Valentine's Day by saying that it opposes 'obscenity and farce love expressed under the garb of Valentine's Day'. According to the organisation, "Valentine Day is from western culture and is misguiding the youth of this country".
That's not all as the worst is yet to come!
Taking their ridiculous thinking further the organisation has said, "Earlier men introduced women as their mothers, sisters or daughters -now they introduce them as girl friend or Valentine". One might wonder as to where does it leave all the wives, fiancee or girl friends, then!
The rejoinder by the organisation comes - "We are not against love as love is an important aspect of life. Our objection is the way it is expressed".
(And we thought we are free to express our love the way we wanted!)
(The writer is an Independent Journalist & Communication Consultant based in Lucknow. The view expressed in the article is of the writer)