Valentine’s day is usually celebrated with an expression of love for those who occupy an important part of one’s life, and it is marked with a lot of passion and rigour.
Valentine’s day is usually celebrated with an expression of love for those who occupy an important part of one’s life, and it is marked with a lot of passion and rigour. Social media is swarming with date and gift ideas for your special one(s) while, on the other hand, fringe groups and anti-Valentine’s squads menacingly gaze at couples who dare to engage in even the smallest display of public affection. Now, a group of students in Surat will reportedly be taking an oath as a part of a very special ceremony. The Indian Express reports that about 10,000 students will be taking a vow declaring eternal loyalty to (not their lovers, but) their parents! The oath will be one that compels students to never marry without the consent of their parents. The unique event is being organised by a voluntary organisation, Hasyamev Jayate, founded by laughter therapist Kamlesh Masalawala who also heads quite a few laughter and cathartic crying clubs in Surat.
This is anything but cathartic though. Masalawala, expounding on the reasons behind this initiative, elaborates “[students] would come to me with problems like their parents are against them marrying the person they love. I am not against the love affair, but… I explain the importance of family and of the devotion they should have for their parents. The parents will compromise and agree to their match but they would get hurt in the process”. While not belittling the possible importance of the role parents can play in the nuptial decision of their children, what of the pain, grief and suffering that someone might endure if they are forced to wed anybody else but their chosen beloved? What of the importance of the role one’s autonomy plays in one’s life? With expressions of romantic love being controlled by and in the name of love jihad and anti-Romeo squads, the students who do end up taking the oath might have to endure the command of their parents over their romantic lives as well, more so on a day when the free, uninterrupted display of affection is commemorated.