We were surprised to read Saturday that Ramdev was “joining the debate over Valentine’s Day,” mostly because we honestly weren’t aware of other countries’ outcry over the observance of Valentine’s Day, which all in all seems to be a generally harmless, albeit “hallmark” holiday for lovin’ and lovers (singles may feel differently). Nevertheless India’s yoga hero Baba Ramdev made a statement on Saturday speaking out against V-Day which echoed the conservative viewpoint that the holiday is basically a day overrun by drunken heathens. Instead of buying gifts for a partner and perhaps grabbing a drink at the pub, the day should actually be celebrated as “Marriage Day,” in remembrance of the martyr St. Valentine who “was hanged because he professed the institution of marriage against the wishes of the King.”
But the younger generation (of today) has given a different connotation to the day,” he said.
They are indulging in ‘acts’ in public which no parent would approve of, Ramdev said
The debate reaches further into the realm of female rights and the steady breaking away from strict conservative traditions – there were assaults on women drinking in bars by right-wing Hindu group Shri Rama Sena just last month – which the people of India could certainly expand on further in another forum. Although, we gather that most young people and women have been celebrating Valentine’s Day for quite a while now, and didn’t refrain from a drink at the pub this year.
UPDATE: Vandalism and Assaults on Valentine’s Day, Six Arrested [BBC]
More… young lovers “find themselves in the middle of a tug-of-war between Hindu hardliners with a mandate to protect Indian culture from Western influence and anti-moral policing groups bent on helping them keep dates on Valentine’s Day.” [Reuters]
V-Day Should Be Celebrated as “Marriage Day”: Ramdev [Indian Express]