Is love an eternal curse?
It's Valentine's day and some protectors of the Indian culture will supposedly be back in action. Because here, Valentine's is not just about love, longing, and celebration; it's also the time to face the wrath of the anti-Valentine's Day brigade.
This year, millennials make it a point to voice their opinions on this forced moral policing.
Shatrupa Ganguly, a journalism student from Delhi says, "I think twice before going out even with my male friends on valentine's day. Despite being an independent woman, there is a constant fear of being strangled by a group of hooligans on grounds of morality. Living in the largest democratic nation in the world has its own perils."
2017 witnessed a case in Kerala where a man was attacked, filmed and mocked on social media by culture vigilantes. The severe crime that he committed was that of hanging around with a female friend on Valentine's day. Later, the guy committed suicide because of humiliation. Similar cases have been reported in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka., where young couples were forcibly married, and publically thrashed after blackening their face and shaving off their heads.
Sharing one such personal experience, Soyeb Allam, a postgraduate student of IIT stated, "It was in class 9th that we went for an excursion tour to a nearby science park on Valentine's day. It was the first time I experienced the sight of an unruly mob moral policing the young couples visiting the park just like us (we never observed any obscenity or intimacy amongst the couples except a few holding hands). Some even had a hard time explaining that they were siblings until their parents confirmed on call or showed up in some time. It obviously instilled a sense of fear inside our teenage minds for those aggressive men."
"Years past that incident, every successive year I see news flooded with such mishappenings on Valentine's day. What I still don't understand is, how sweeping away all the love (just the unmarried ones) from the streets, parks, and cafés on one single day will leave us with a more cultured India, where love between a male and female can only happen to occur if you tie knots; else it becomes a western induced illegal salacious affair," he further said. Zeeshan Kaskar, another student who is from JMI revealed a similar problem faced by him while he was sitting with a female friend in his hometown. According to him, "the problem is not just pertinent to metropolitan cities, it's there throughout the country." A student from Aligarh Muslim University anonymously expressed his opinion on the issue. "The fuss created by anti-Romeo squads in Uttar Pradesh last year, has made star-crossed lovers run for cover."
A law student from UP, however, expressed contentment by questioning the preachers of morality: "If a girl has been raped, nothing happens, but if a girl is voluntarily roaming with someone, some groups 'freak out'. I believe they are assuming some authoritative power, which even the Constitution doesn't assign them," he further added.
What's more shocking is when an elite educational institute supports and promotes such a regressive ideology. At present, it is Lucknow university making headlines for issuing an advisory, telling students not come to the campus on Valentine's day.
Condemning any such activity, Mohammad Anas, a postgraduate student studying literature feels that "love cannot be chained at any cost, and hence, moral policing will only add more poison to polluted air of the present day. People are against love since the very beginning of the human existence but love manages to flourish in every time."
Indeed that gives out a positive vibe amidst all the negativity prevailing in the ambience these days. Akshay, a young man working as a PRO gives a blunt suggestion at the end note. "Instead of stopping something happening with the consent of both the ends, try focusing upon hunting down the harassers and molesters this year. Popularity can be gained through good things as well," he said.