Shaadi ya Barbaadi?
This cliched question has been raised in countless comedies and bad TV shows, asked by brash young feministish singletons and crass old sexist gents for years.
The Hindu Mahasabha has given it some thought. Their verdict is unambiguous: shaadi=barbaadi.
The Hindu Mahasabha, a group in Meerut, have declared that they will troll, sorry, trawl the streets on Valentine’s Day and ensure that any lover-like couple they see is married off (at their expense, I assume). Since they have expressed a generic distaste for relationships of choice, one can only imagine that they think marriage is a punishment and will cure people of love. I have it from good sources that they are not wrong, and in fact may find a deep philosophical support from janta on this count, but not much traction otherwise.
It is true indeed that hate and love are two sides of the same coin. In wanting to hate love, all the protestors, like the Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Mahasabha, have obsessed about it so much that Valentine’s Day has become a very important day in their calendar, whatever you and I may feel about it. Irony teri yahi kahani! I found it quite cute when the Bajrang Dal told the press, sniffily, that “we have no Valentine’s Day plans this year”, as if they’ve moved on to more mature romantic engagements than candy and cards.
Over the years, the periodic objection from conservative groups to Valentine’s Day has begun to suffer from a severe branding problem, though.
Are they against love? Are they against Westernised love? Are they against commodified, and hence, flattened, love (which Valentine’s Day most definitely is)? I cannot make out what they feel about love, but one communication is clear: they must be against marriage, because they have decided it is the best punishment for the misdemeanour of love!
A branding problem usually points to the fact that you are out of touch with your market. The Hindu Mahasabha’s absurd threat is proof that even as a certain group expresses a strident conservatism, people themselves are today engaged in a surge of romantic and sexual experimentation, a greater confidence in desire and love and a growing belief in choice that isn’t going away. In fact several months ago I had written in this column about a temple to Valentine Krishna in Tamil Nadu, where a puja for lovers is carried out on February 14th. People find their own ways to combine where they come from and where they are going to, while forces like the Hindu Mahasabha have the unrealistic desire that we should keep running in one place.
But well, if mummy-daddy are opposed to your shaadi, if you’re gay and believe in marriage, if you can’t afford a wedding – all you gotta do is take a walk on the mild side, holding hands and waving a heart shaped balloon this Valentine’s Day and your wedding should be taken care of.
In a show of tech-savviness, they have also instated an online vigilance division who will ensure the marriage of all those sending out messages resembling, I Love You, ILU ILU, Luv to Luv U on social media. Therefore do make sure that this Valentine’s Day each of you sends out such messages to at least 10 such people and ask them to send it out to another 10 people. No no – it’s not to confuse the Hindu Mahasabha. It’s just that, maybe, polyamory will finally get the blessings of mainstream tradition. Jai Shri Valentine Krishna.
Gals, get a shot at tying the knot this Valentine Day!
Rajyasree Sen, economic times
Who knew that the final refuge for us unmarried Hindu women — and men — will be the Hindu Mahasabha? Thanks to the Mahasabha’s worthy initiatives, it seems love will also get us married for sure this Valentine’s week. If we are to believe the Mahasabha, over a period of seven days leading to Valentine’s Day, there will be a spurt of marriages taking place under its aegis. You see, the great Hindu Marriage Sabha, a.k.a. Hindu Mahasabha, has broken rank with our other moral guardians and decided to help us make permanent love, not war. Or, in this case, make marriage, not bruises.
So, if you’re a singleton and want to get hitched, but don’t know how, here are some easy solutions. Take your paramour — or even some unsuspecting chap whom you may have your eye on — to a public place or a mall, a park or ideally in front of the Hindu Mahasabha’s office. Then start canoodling and just bide your time. If the man you have your heart set on is of a suspicious nature, or won’t allow such hanky-panky, carry a bunch of roses and tell him to just hold them for you while you pretend to talk on your phone. Soon, a group of Mahasabha reps will catch both of you and get you married.
Since they’re the upholders of all that is good and right in Hindu culture, the Mahasabha’s national president Chander Prakash Kaushik has said, “India is a country where all 365 days are days for love. Why then must couples observe only February 14 as Valentine’s Day? We are not against love. But if a couple is in love, then they must get married. In case the couple’s claim that they need time to think about marriage, we will tell them that if they are not certain, they should not belittle love by openly going around together.”
The Mahasabha has promised to immediately marry off guilty Hindu couples in an Arya Samaj wedding. They have considered every loophole. They won’t be helping you commit ‘love jihad’ under their watch. Interfaith couples will be purified through a ‘shuddhikaran’ (purification) ritual. According to Mahesh Chandana, the organisation welcomes this new version of ‘love jihad’, because “all residents of India are Hindus”. If you want to escape the long marital arm of the Mahasabha, simply keep away from canoodling in corners and carry carnations or tulips instead of roses.
Another kind gesture by the Mahasabha is that they will be keeping a watch on social media as well. Is someone not returning your affections? Does someone have a restraining order on you? Simply tweet or WhatsApp or post ‘I love you’ on their Facebook wall. The Mahasabha has set up eight teams to monitor social media. “Display of love in the Valentine’s week is equivalent to not following Indian traditions. Anyone found displaying love on Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp will be caught hold of (sic),” said Kaushik.
The Mahasabha’s social media campaign is slated to begin from tomorrow, February 8. Teams will first apprise the masses about “what true love is” and how “a Western festival should not be celebrated in the country”. If folks don’t adhere to their advice, they will inbox them and ask for their contact numbers and addresses, reach their house and get them married. If they refuse to share their numbers, they will contact their parents and “ask them to get them married if they really love each other”.
And in case you think the Mahasabha has lost its religious focus, you’re wrong. More than any ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming) for Muslim men, it’s more important to conduct the ghar wapsi of secular Hindus. “The secular Hindus [who celebrate Valentine’s Day] should be converted to Hinduism completely so that they stop believing in the existence of any other religion.” This is known as a truly holy-stic approach.
My favourite love gendarmes, the Bajrang Dal, unfortunately, are busy with other things. “We have our Hindu Sammelan on February 15 and we are busy with that. So no plans for V-Day this year,” said the Bajrang Dal’s Ajju Chauhan. Pity.
While the Mahasabha has an answer to what would happen if I’m on a date with a Muslim man, I do have some other technical questions. What if I’m on a date with a married man? Do I have to marry him? And if Ido, what happens to his wife? Also, why restrict themselves to only those couples professing love? What about married couples who are estranged? Shouldn’t the Mahasabha love gurus carpe the romantic diem and act as mediators?
So all you single ladies, make the most of the week and let the Hindu Mahasabha help you put a ring on it.