By Ankita Gupta
It was inevitable: The scent of bitter dal always reminded him of the fate of ill-requited love.
For the past ten years now, the Bajrang Dal activists (supported by other like-minded fringe groups) have celebrated Valentine’s Day in their own unique way- by tracking, hounding and bashing up unsuspecting couples. In some select cases, they have even played divine matchmakers- and married off lovebirds that they had rounded up.
Here is looking into the Bajrang Dal’s annual rituals- to mark the day of romance with their trademark agitations.
Valentine’s Day is a saffron lettered day for the members of the Bajrang Dal party. With hope in their hearts and sticks in their arms, the Hindu outfit group roams the streets and parks in search of lovers. On spotting a couple, these Valentine haters unleash their brand of horror upon them. If the hostages are lucky, they get the carrot- and are let off with a warning. But some hapless paramours have also been known to be on the receiving end of their sticks. The activists have even taken it one step further for some of their premium victims- by solemnizing their marriages (at knuckle-point)! This vandalism has been executed over the years under the pretext of salvaging the ‘Indian culture’ from roving foreign influence.
When Cupid (né fringe activist) strikes
True to their form, this year too, the fringe activists have upheld their birth-right of protecting national values. The party leaders had carefully planned the 14th of February with elaborate arrangements. They left no stones unturned- slogans prepared, flyers distributed, whiplashes and canes hoarded- all before schedule. In Ahmedabad, the activists decorated the walls with sentimental messages like- ‘Say no to Valentine’s Day’ and ‘Love Jihad: Hindu girls beware.’ They even organized seminars to spread these sermons. The moral ninjas went all out by threating pubs and clubs and setting Valentine’s gifts and cards on fire. They even deployed several team members to instil a fear of God upon all lovers.
Bajrang Dal in-charge Vishal Prasad tenderly stated, “It is not in Indian culture to celebrate such events and we should not let foreign culture in. We have been telling people about how the youths are getting influenced and ruining their career and also creating public nuisance.”
Chandra Prakash Kaushik, self-proclaimed chief Hindu Mahasabha, sweetly offered, “Our workers will move in parks, malls and other public places with white roses on February 14. They will ask the couples, who have attained the minimum age for marriage, to get married if they truly love each other…we will facilitate their marriage at our national headquarters in New Delhi with proper Hindu rituals.”
A love note from the defenders of ‘Indian Culture’
Instead of focusing on issues like murder and rape, the youth activists in such fringe groups devote their energy in blowing love to smithereens. The enthusiasm which they have shown to uphold their solemn mission is extraordinary. Shiv Sena deputy Lalit Mohan Sharma issued a concerned statement for the annual anti-Valentine’s event, “There could be a risk of property damage, for which the owners themselves will be responsible.” His colleague Lokesh Saini backed him saying, “If we find someone in an objectionable position, we will teach him a lesson.”
But despite their initial threats, it seems that these right-wing leaders have softened towards lovers. Some have even gone on record to say that ‘daughters and sisters also have the right to love.’ This year, they only half-heartedly tried to shoo away young couples who were huddled in the Sabarmati Riverfront.
It seems that they have given up on the golden dream of reforming couples from indulging in public acts which they consider “similar to the nature of animals”. This sudden change in heart could be because of the strict warnings issued to them to not misbehave with couples on Valentine’s Day. Or maybe they were slack because the party leaders have fallen in love with eye-batting prodigy Priya Varrier.
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