So what would you do for love?
In India, Valentine’s day is pretty big. Indians are pretty romantic in the cheesy sort of way. Diamonds, Flowers, Cards, Stuffed Animals… The whole shebang.
But one of the sadder sides of this is the backlash. You see in a country whose movie heroes regularly fall in love, there are those who don’t like the concept that people can love things. And yes, I understand that these people sound like the villains from My Little Pony… but this is a major problem.
I didn’t blog yesterday because I was busy on a highly romantic (and highly cheesy and nerdy) date with my girlfriend. She was stuck in the UK, I was stuck in India so we made a meal and sat down to eat on Skype. It’s silly but free and fun and a nice thing to do. I mean when people say Valentine’s day is a commercial trap, my response is “So is Christmas, but I still notice you scarfing down turkey with the rest of us…”.
However there were hundreds of thousands of couples like ourselves who went out and about on dates to demonstrate their love. And they ran afoul of one of India’s best kept secrets.
It goes by the name of Saffron Extremism. Hindu extremists harassed, beat and in one case forcibly married couples. In a lovely little twist one such outfit claimed that Valentine’s day lead to rape (rather than the culture of moral policing by people such as the Bajrang Dal, BJP, Shiv Sena and Ram Sena).
Oh cheer up! It’s better than it used to be. This year police defended the couples, however in 2009 they actively beat and attacked couples in support of the fanatics. A marked improvement.