As the month changes from January to February, there is a certain type of excitement in the air. No points for guessing, for everyone knows it is the season of love. The gift shops are busy packing gifts and making huge profit. The young and old prepare themselves for D-day, to wish their beloved ones through gifts and cards. The prices are high and exceed the normal rates, yet no one cares. It is Valentine’s Day after all!
Other than the love-struck couples eagerly waiting for this day, some other groups seem equally keen too. The Sangh Parivar is all geared up to come out on the streets and protect the Hindutva identity. Come 14th February, the air smells lovely with the fresh red roses and the sky looks heavenly with red balloons flying high.
The image however is disrupted by the specks of orange here and there. The saffron brigade is at it’s best on this day, targeting any couple they can lay their hands on. One wonders about the state of “freedom of expression” . The integrity of the masses is at stake, for they do not even spare the ladies. The saffron brigade, it seems, forgets that a woman is to be respected and not beaten up ruthlessly on the streets.
What exactly makes up the Hindutva identity? There is no logical answer to this, but we can guess. The concept of freedom to choose a relationship with an individual is completely relegated to the background by these forces. Should not we be free to choose what way we want to express ourselves? These are issues the saffron brigade would put to the background. After all, they are protecting the Hindu identity.
Given the fact that the country is democratic, it is reasonable for the youth to choose to celebrate this day. Yet, one cannot ignore the fact that still there are forces, who take it upon themselves to protect our culture. As they say it, celebrating this day is eroding our culture. It is ironical that we adopt so many western ideas, yet such trivial issues create a huge ruckus.
How do we define culture? Each individual has his or her own perception of culture, which may be completely different from each other. When there is no definitive perception of culture, what is the saffron brigade out to protect? There is simply no threat to the erosion of the so called culture. If today, celebrating Friendship day has become a common practice, then so has celebrating Valentine’s day.
The shopkeepers are concerned about profit, the youth with simple excitement. It is indeed time for the saffron brigade to move aside and accept things as they are. Times have changed and so has society; culture therefore also changes with such changes in the existing condition. If only these forces could channel their energy in a more constructive manner, there are chances that they might be able to protect the Hindutva identity in the real sense.
[image by drinksmachine]