As hundreds of couples step out on Valentine’s Day to celebrate their love, hundreds of men will also patrol the streets to harass these couples in the name of Indian culture.
Jignesh Mevani has a very pointed message for them on this Valentine’s Day:
February 14, celebrated as Valentine’s Day world over, is a day to honour the special bond of love and togetherness people find in each other. Yet, on this very day, certain extremist groups like the Hindu Mahasabha, Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad have had a history of roaming the streets and other public places like parks, malls, cafes, dhabas of cities, towns and villages to harass and terrorise young unmarried youngsters. They say it’s a part of “westernisation” of Indian culture. For them, every idea originated in India but love!
These youngsters, who are usually college students or barely out of college, when they are intimidated by these unlawful goons feel absolutely helpless. It is during these situations that state law-enforcement agencies, like the police, need to step in to ensure protection for these powerless youngsters from this hooliganism. It is, therefore, my sincere appeal to all law-enforcing agencies across the nation to be extra vigilant tomorrow to protect these youngsters, or any couple who is at the risk of harassment.
The moral policing patrols, like the Hindu Mahasabha in this interview, vow to forcefully marry couples they spot in public places such as parks, eateries and shopping malls. They claim it to be a ‘test of their love’ which is nothing but a violation of privacy of consenting adults, a fundamental right enshrined under our constitution. Our youngsters are at liberty – and constitutionally protected – to spend time according to their wish and do whatever they want as long as they are not in conflict with the law of the land.
The streets of our nation have seen too much violence in the name of caste, religion and various other political, social and economic issues. Let us work towards changing this by creating public spaces that harbour love, understanding and empathy.
To quote Baba Saheb himself, “New India cannot be created without the Annihilation of Caste.” And the annihilation of caste is not possible without inter-caste marriages!
I appeal to the youth of this country to fall in love and celebrate 14th February with love, just the way, we celebrate 14th April as Babasaheb Ambedkar Jayanti.
Had, Bhagat Singh and Babasaheb Ambedkar been alive, they would have commemorated this day the same way: by spreading love.
Jignesh Mevani is an MLA from Vadgam in Gujarat.
Featured image credit: Jignesh Mevani