Valentine Vigilante

Friday, February 12, 2010 Dr. Vishaal Bhat 0 Comments

In two days the entire world would be celebrating Valentine’s Day. It is going to be fun all over with friends, families and lovers enjoying a day with whole hearted affection. In my country however, these are xenophobic times and an expression of love in public is only for the very courageous or very foolhardy individual. There are so called ‘guardians of Indian culture’ or ‘guardians of hinduism’ whose main job these days is to harass anybody exhibiting ‘excess enthusiasm’. They have various names across the country – the Shiv Sena in Maharashtra, the Bajrang Dal in the northern states and Karnataka, some call themselves the Dalit panthers and then we have the Rama Sene in Karnataka!

Does Indian culture teach us to smash shops which display heart shaped balloons or beat up individuals in public places for holding hands? Why is it that during holi, men and women can hold hands, hug each other even though they might not be husband and wife or brother and sister? Why does groping of women during this festival, considered harmless fun, when it might to be occurring with the consent of the person involved? Where are these vigilantes when a girl or woman is being molested? Is that part of Indian culture?

To gain political mileage these outfits can fall to any low. What has happened to the constitutional rights of Individuals? Why even after gaining independence all those years ago, are we not free to express our feelings without fear?

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