"Don’t touch me! We are in public!"
I can’t believe they did it again! The city police has warned couples to behave themselves in public on Valentine’s Day, February 14. They did this on a day when nine members of the Hindu Makkal Katchi were arrested for attempting to burn Valentine Day cards. The right wing organisation was claiming that the celebrations were against Tamil culture and the “Hindu way of life”.
It is clear that law and order is on a strain in the city ahead of the celebrations. Vandals from fringe fundamentalist Hindu organisations may go on rampage. In fact, if you are self-respecting fundamentalist, this is when you show your true colours. So it’s quite surprising to hear the police warning couples instead of reassuring them.
It is the second time in the recent past that the HMK is in the news. The group, which has taken the ominous task of moral policing Tamil Nadu, had recently found actress Shreya’s attire that she wore to the silver jubilee celebrations of Sivaji, to be offending for Tamils and Hindus. (The HMK split itself from the Hindu Munnani in the mid-90s says the Wikipedia stub on the organisation.)
I hate Valentine’s Day myself. I even hate birthdays, so don’t even ask me about Valentine’s Day. But I think if you are in your late teens and if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend who is sporty enough to accompany you for the evening, you are likely to have fun. And any day that provides an excuse must be welcomed with open arms.
The clothes we wear are not really Indian. Much of our ideology and philosophy has been shaped by the west. To appreciate Indian and Tamil culture is important, especially since it clearly under the onslaught of the forces of globalisation. To be a bigot and burn Valentine’s Day cards is uncool. When the Shiv Sena first started doing it a decade ago (to my knowledge), that generated a debate. We all learned how much money companies like Hallmark were making out of Valentine’s Day. But today, such protests seem pointless and extreme. I so wish HMK would stop attracting attention to itself.