If you live in India, 14th February must have had a special significance. And it’s not just because of the greeting cards, flowers, and chocolates.
In fact, it is all of that, peppered with fear.
Why fear, you ask? Well, that’s how it works in this ‘sanskari’ country. The flutter in every teenager’s heart for their crush has often been replaced by a cold shiver down their spine when they think of the consequences of their romance if they who-should-not-be-named finds out. And often, it’s not just their parents. And over the years, while the world celebrated Valentine’s Day, India didn’t. But then, how can we not celebrate when the world is celebrating, right? Therefore, to compensate, there came along many other ‘days’.
1.Matri Pitri Pujan Diwas, or Mother-Father ‘Puja’ Day.
In 2012, Asaram Bapu gave the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Akhilesh Yadava the idea that Valentine’s day should be celebrated as ‘Matri Pitri Pujan Diwas.’
The aim was simple – to inspire the youth and free them from the awful, morally paralyzing influence of evil ‘western customs’.
However, while this was just a piece of advice, this turned into a legit (and terrifying) reality.
Starting this year, Rajasthan schools will be celebrating ‘Matri-Pitri Pujan Diwas.’
An order which was issued stated that on this ‘special day’, parents would be invited to the schools where their wards would honor them. They would also get an opportunity to spend some time on the school campus and interact with teachers.
Imagine finding the courage to walk up to your crush and handing them a rose, only to turn around and find your parents giving you a disappointed glare. Major oops!
2. Black Day.
Shiv Sena activists including Bal Thackeray, had said Valentine’s Day should be observed as ‘black day’ as Bhagat Singh and two other freedom fighters were awarded the death sentence on the day in 1931.
Claiming that a section of “misguided” youth celebrates the occasion as “love day” under the influence of western culture, the outfits even organized functions in 2016 to honour these martyrs.
The outfit claimed that the trio were awarded death sentence in the Lahore conspiracy case on February 14, 1931 even though they were hanged on March 23 later that year.
”Ashleelta nahi shaleenta’ (civilised behaviour, not vulgarity) should be the hallmark of February 14,” they had added.
So this February 14, you can take your pick between patriotism or personal. Both require selfless love anyway.
3. Lathi Puja.
Ahead of Valentine’s Day in 2018, members of Shiv Sena in Muzaffarnagar conducted a ‘lathi puja’ and declared that the sticks would come in handy to “teach a lesson” to couples being affectionate in public.
Dozens of members of the party including its senior leaders organized the ritual at its office in Prakash Chowk in the city, and announced they would go out on the streets to stop “celebrations” on February 14 in public places, and will continue it next year, which brings us to another day instead of Valentine’s day you can celebrate in 2019!
“Celebration of Valentine’s Day increases the occurrence of love jihad. This is not our culture. Our people will be deployed in parks and schools. If we find someone in an objectionable position, we will teach him a lesson,” Lokesh Saini a member of the party had said.
Well, at least now you have a list of where not to go.
4. Disciplinary Day.
This isn’t as much of a legitimate ‘celebration’ as it is the opposite of it. Lucknow University in 2018 issued an advisory to its students to not to roam inside the premises of the university on Valentine’s Day, else disciplinary action would be taken against whosoever is found violating the advisory.
Discipline, it seems, is the way to really deal with your love.
5. Maybe your wedding day?
Whether you’re planning on tying the knot soon or not, Bajrang Dal will ensure that if you are caught somehow romancing the love of your life, or well, anyone for that matter, you will be forced to marry them right there, on the spot. No take backs, no refunds.
If you think this sounds a little impossible, well, the Hindutva outfit has that covered. Last year, they even said that they would carry around priests to ensure that any couple who was spotted could instantly be married on the spot.
On the plus side, maybe you could use this as an opportunity to get a free wedding ceremony, if your dream destination wedding is one which involves kicks, punches, tears and absolutely no family what-so-ever. We hope you won’t be in Two States about this.
Bonus idea: Sister’s Day.
While this isn’t technically Indian yet, the debatable factor here is ‘yet.’ A Pakistani university will celebrate Sisters’ Day on February 14 to promote “Islamic traditions” starting this year.
Female students can be gifted scarves and Abayahs (clothes) as decided by Vice Chancellor Zafar Iqbal Randhawa of the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad and other decision makers. The vice chancellor of the Unviersity believes it is “compatible with Pakistan’s culture and Islam.”
Will this be appropriated by India soon? We can’t definitively say ‘no’ for sure.
All these other days, however, bring up a very important and valid point: People will go extreme lengths, call it a series of other names, and do absolutely anything to address what it is known across the world for – Valentine’s Day.
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