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Valentine’s Day, India: Orthodox Groups Set to Clash With Lovers

Political and religious outfits in the country are gathering their arsenal to take on friends and lovers who will hit public parks, restaurants, hotels and monuments to express their love next month. The outfits consider Valentine’s Day to be a Western concept which promotes obscenity and vulgarity in Indian society.

Armies Against Love

Sri Ram Sene, a right wing Hindu group, headed by Pramod Mutalik, a former member of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and Bajrang Dal, which came into limelight last year after attacks on certain pubs and Christian establishments in Karnataka State, has appealed to college students to boycott the Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Mutalik’s group is visiting colleges in different districts of the Karnataka State to campaign against the Day. T S Vasanth Kumar Bhavani, President of Sri Ram Sene in Bangalore, has said that his group has already visited colleges in at least five districts of the State.

Sri Ram Sene is also planning to send Sarees, bangles, turmeric and flowers, symbols of traditional expression of gaiety and love, as return gifts to the internet ensemble which launched a Pink Underwear drive against the group last year. The PInk Underwear drive, supporting Valentine’s Day, will be completing one year this February.

Another right wing Hindu fringe group in Jammu, Shri Ram Sena (Army of Lord Rama) and Shiv Sena, a political party in Maharashtra, have said that their activist will not spare couples who come out on Valentine’s Day to celebrate love and bonhomie.

“They (the couples) will be solely responsible for anything that may happen to them,” Shri Ram Sena President Ravi Mahajan said in Jammu on January 29.

Hindu Group to Forcibly Marry Off Couples on Valentine’s Day

Besides the different versions of Ram Sena and Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, a young militant group belonging to RSS family, has threatened to disrupt Valentine celebrations and forcibly marry off couples who are found sitting or roaming around in public parks, hotels and restaurants.

“We strongly oppose the naked exhibition of obscenity and vulgarity in the name of Valentine’s Day. We will not allow the so-called western, civilised and literate people to promote this,” Prakash Sharma, the head of Bajrang Dal told.

Sharma said his organisation wanted the youth to stay off the Valentine’s Day. When asked whether it was not against democracy to impose their choice on individuals, Sharma said there was no space for individuals in the Indian society.

Sharma alleged that the Valentine’s Day was responsible for impregnation of many unmarried girls in the country. “To flirt and have fun outside and without marriage is against our culture,” he claimed.

Ironically, many Muslim groups which otherwise stand diametrically opposed to the Hindu groups, are supporting the latter against Valentine’s Day. The Muslim groups too believe that the Valentine celebrations promote obscenity in Indian society.

Calling Valentine’s Day ‘Un-Islamic’ Dukhtaran-e-Millet, the only women terrorist organisation in Jammu & Kashmir State, has warned shopkeepers not to serve couples on Valentine Day.

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