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Valentine’s Curse: How Come There Is No ‘Moral Police’ When A Woman Is Assaulted?

Posted on February 13, 2016 in Society

By Snigdha Priyadarshini:

India Valentines Day Protest
Image Credit: AP/Altaf Qadri.

The D-day is fast approaching. The day equally loved and loathed by us Indians is just around the corner. Yes, I am talking about the most awaited Valentine’s Day. It’s that one day in the year when the self-proclaimed protectors of the ‘Indian Culture’ spring into action. On one hand, there are couples preparing to rejoice and celebrate the one day dedicated to love. On the other hand, the ‘moral police’ has taken the task upon themselves to punish anyone and everyone who gets swayed by the ‘Western propaganda’ of destroying Indian values and ethos.

Just a few days back, I too was excited about the prospect of a holiday wherein I can watch movies, eat and pamper and be pampered by the special someone, guilt free. That’s when I found out about what happens when young couples are caught by these political parties with the frivolous motive of shaming love. Couples may be beaten and humiliated, and made to call their own parents to confess of their ‘sins’ or, in some cases, to marry each other. In some reports that surfaced last year, women were assaulted and men were beaten mercilessly. All this in the name of our country’s heritage?

When has my country asked me to prove my devotion and patriotism by shaming the purest of feelings? What can these people possibly achieve by humiliating people who act on their own feelings and by mutual consent? How come this ‘moral police’ is nowhere to be found when women are assaulted, raped and beaten for dowry on a daily basis? Is it because, apparently, these acts are not in violation of our nation’s pride and heritage? Why do these people choose to be offended by love and lust but look away from the crimes that happen under their nose every day? Some of these are committed by themselves under the garb of national welfare.

The only thing I want to be worried about on Valentine’s Day is whether the card made by me is good enough, or where should we go out to eat or what I should wear! Or maybe act like it’s just another date on the calendar! What I shouldn’t be bothered about is, “what if they caught us, what will they do to us?” This day is accused of causing “incitement to adolescents to act on their immoral urges.” What defines ‘immoral’ anyways? An individual’s lifestyle is his or her own choice.

This is the land where the criminalisation of marital rape is still being debated, but consensually acting on one’s own urges prior to marriage is considered a sin. Isn’t that hypocrisy? And why should the country with an ever increasing population, the land of Kama Sutra, pretend like lust is a concept brought to us from ‘West’? The land where the union of Radha and Krishna (non-marital union) is worshipped shows a passive aggressiveness to love and intimacy? While it is justified to have personal opinions in favour or against public display of affection, but punishing them for the same is downright wrong.

And moreover, if it is indeed the ‘Westernisation’ that bothers the ‘moral police’ so much, why is the celebration of parents day, father’s day, mother’s day etc. allowed? If I may remind them, democracy is also concept inspired by the ‘West’. While everyone is entitled to having one’s own individual opinion, coercing someone else to have the same opinion and punishing them if they don’t agree with it is not justified. And when carried out actively by political parties and the police, it is a matter of shame for our country.

Renaming Valentine’s Day as ‘Matru-Pitru Diwas‘, and forcing us to celebrate it that way is an infringement on an individual’s rights and privacy. It is my belief that parents should be respected and worshipped every day; I still touch their feet every morning before bowing to God. But that in no way justifies the act of the ‘moral police’ who, ironically,  have a wrong and skewed perception of morality.

The only problem one should have with Valentine’s Day is the fact that there is only one day dedicated to love. Thanks to certain godmen and protectors of Indian (oops! Bharatiya) culture, my plans for 14th February are not certain. But it doesn’t matter because I am going to celebrate love every day anyway.