VALENTINE’S DAY: Why Do They Fear It in India?
Two things have changed since I understood what Valentine’s Day is and why some people get excited when this day arrives on 14 February, every year.
One—they have started using the term “V-day” for Valentine’s Day these days, as if it's Vagina Day or Victory Day or something. Two—some extremist parties have proclaimed Valentine’s Day a “No Love Day” in India.
Adding to the farce, (I mean the second change I mentioned about Valentine’s Day) the Indian state of “Chhattisgarh renamed V-Day as ‘Matru-Pitru Diwas’, meaning the ‘day for mother and father’. In other words, by “loving” on Valentine’s Day, you might get yourself beaten up or in some unfortunate cases, killed. In Chhattisgarh though, you may be arrested and send to prison because the Matru-Pitru Diwas is announced by the government itself.
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I have felt it always easy, when writing non-fiction, to use a thought or quote from a book I read. Ideas and concepts from previously read books add to the charm of the non-fiction passages we write. However, what would I quote here, in this context? Where could I bring the best analogy from? The only names that come to my mind are totalitarianism and despotism, and no books.
Indecent behavior in the name of love and Valentine’s Day seems to be growing in the country. With which standard shall we define the indecency is another question. Kissing in public is indecent in India. In the grand Indian traditional style, one would not even see the face of the groom before wedding. Within the premises of these grotesque cultural paradigms, a judgment of morality becomes impossible. Religious extremists bring the fallacy of appeal to morality. However, considering the paradoxes of caste and religious bigotry that exists, at the same time, within the fabric of Indian society, moral policing is meaningless.
Perhaps, some of the extremists might have misunderstood the “V-Day” acronym to be Vagina Day, since Vagina is one of the significant causes of moral denigration in most of the movies and television serials made here. Although there may be those with a certain economic theory who argue that Valentine’s Day is all about commerce and dirty profit making, under circumstances described in paragraph one of this article, how could someone deny that the simple act that love itself has turned into revolution.
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Analyze this issue closely and it will not be missed by anyone. It’s clearly happening. By pressing the public with directives regarding what to do, and how not to express love on a so-called ‘day of love’ the people concerned have opened the arena for the presumption that love has already become a revolution.
I would like to draw your attention towards the Kiss of Love campaign that started in Kochi a few months before. It was in November and in protest against the moral policing by some extremist organizations. The result was curious, and improbable in a society that identifies itself ‘democratic’. As a measure to prevent a riot, the police arrested the protestors during the Kiss of Love campaign; this happened not just in Kochi, but also wherever they conducted their campaign afterwards. The extremist groups created mayhem quite successfully, without any apparent interruption from Repressive State Apparatus, throughout the venues, wherever solidarity was expressed.
I would like to express my relief in finding a book reference, eventually on this issue. At least, I am glad that I could find a parallel about this later issue of how state represses the independent and just expression of subjectivity. Think about Aldous Huxley’s dystopian novel, Brave New World. It’s characters live in a regime where human beings are given definitive subconscious-level training in what to think and what to be while alive. This is done through a series of audio exposures that are given to the individuals from an embryonic level itself. The point to be noticed is that these embryo’s do not grow in a woman’s womb, instead they are grown in a laboratory.
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The cultural laboratory is an apt parallel to Brave New World’s human factories. Although in the novel, human beings are manufactured in flesh and blood, the culture factory we live in creates our personalities and psychological affiliations. These psychological affiliation cause us to undergo similar behaviors as that is seen in Kochi on the day of Kiss of Love campaign. For those who had grown up thinking any expression of love between man and woman in public is a cause for moral degradation, it is indeed a problem; not of the man and woman kissing or holding hands, but of the man who has a problem accepting two individuals giving each other company.
Moral decency begins at a psychological level. It has deeper psychological and intellectual roots. Eliminating morality from the equation might bring a serious threat to any civilized social order. However, defining morality on narrow principles of sex or social expression of love, while undermining humanity itself, is a greater mistake still.
One of these mistakes will be committed tomorrow as lovers would embrace their beloved ones and drink the eternal honey of love from the eyes of the beloved. Those who oppose Valentine’s Day, normally, argue that love is not time bound or tethered to a particular day alone; that argue that ever day one can share and express love, why then celebrate a special day as Valentine’s Day for lovers? It is, indeed, a very significant argument. But the significance is not on why we celebrate only this day. The important part of the question is why are we missing the possibility of making our beloved one feel special on a specific day?
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You special someone might be a man or a woman. Your way of identifying and expressing that specialty determines the existence of the evidence that you possess true space for the other person in your creative imagination. Whatever your prompts for expressing that delicate feeling of love could be, for example, it could be just because it’s a Valentine’s Day, you need not spare a single chance to make her or him happy.
Valentine's Day is not about money either. It is all about the worth of the moments you spend with your beloved one. You may or may not want to buy a costly gift for the other person. But when you want to buy a cute present, you better be able to find a store. That is the only place where commercialization comes in. there are people who argue books are commercial products. Perhaps, they are, but what matters is the matter within the book. If you wish to gift your partner a beautiful book, and if you got this idea by watching a movie, technically you are committing the error of submitting yourself to the forced in the market. But the joy you know would bloom on your beloved one’s face has no parallels, no replacements, and no theory on globalization could fathom. This, essentially falls under the category of feeling that humans call love.
“4Love is always patient;
love is always kind;
love is never envious
or arrogant with pride.
Nor is she conceited,
5and she is never rude;
she never thinks just of herself
or ever gets annoyed.
She never is resentful;
6is never glad with sin;
she’s always glad to side with truth,
and pleased that truth will win.
7She bears up under everything;
believes the best in all;
there is no limit to her hope,
and never will she fall.”
Says Paul, the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 13 of The Bible. As human beings, we understand that love cannot be defined. At least, we romanticize this concept in our literatures. However, we always define love, evidently. By doing so, we try to comprehend the incomprehensible Divine Source from which all love originates. It is this same Divine Source that gives love outward infinitely and unconditionally. While in love, we represent a candle, aflame with the spirit of the Divine Source of unconditional and ultimate love, God. This involves loving a parent or even your cat.
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The question, most of those who eagerly wait Valentine’s Day, might ask in India is; when does one form of love become a crime? When you kiss, hold hands, or…?
It is difficult to talk sense into haters. In this epic battle of love Vs hate, I encourage you to stand by love. Hate never drags victory home. It is the rule of nature that Mother Nature herself will quell disruptions. She cannot accept disharmony. Love is harmony and the true essence of human existence. However, because love is God’s nature too, as carriers of this God element, that is love, we must realize that only hate can accept violence and fight. Love never fights and promotes violence. Therefore, to “use” love to prove someone wrong or to fight for justice seems rather a misuse of this fragment of Divinity, love, that we all come to possess. Lovers can’t really hate haters. Only haters have that advantage. Lovers can, on the other hand, do something no hater in the world could ever achieve. Lovers can love their haters.
Valentine’s Day could be just an excuse to say what you have always kept as a secret or inexplicable emotional reality in your mind. It will greatly improve your relationship, if you take it that way. Valentine’s Day need not be an occasion to exhibit something you feel you are justified to. Give a gift, share a meal together, tell the secret that you love that person, smile, sing, dance, hope, and above all, love.
Eventually, the lessons daunts on me, why so many people prefer using V-Day instead of Valentine’s Day. After typing all these pages, exhaustion gets the best of me. It fills me with understanding.
Here is a something from the world of market and books, exclusively for you:
If you like to give your beloved one a book this season, please order my romantic collection, You Should Know How I Feel…. I am sure you will not be disappointed. There is love and lots more.
I am an independent author, and I do not have a big publishing house behind me to help me in marketing my book. So I am not your typical marketing executive trying to sell for a big company, making them profit.
Order a copy in your beloved one’s name here in the link provided.