the Underwear Underground
News from India
It's time for what has become the annual update on the Great Indian Valentine's Day Controversy.
In case you have only recently joined us, self-styled "defenders of Indian culture" have protested, often violently, against the de facto adoption of Valentine's Day into the calendar of many and varied Indian festivals.
And it's not just "Hindu nationalists" - reports indicate Muslim hardliners as equally incensed. Looks like a great opportunity for interfaith bonding against a mutually recognized "threat."
Mind you, no one in the pro-VD camp is suggesting that VD be an official, government holiday...the cultural curmudgeons just don't want private citizens strolling hand-in-hand or sending valentine cards.
The recent Mangalore pub incident has the Moral Police back in the headlines, major. (As Richard Gere, Shilpa Shetty and Khushboo can tell you, they are not to be trifled with.)
This year, there's a very creative response - the Pink Chaddi Campaign from the Consortium of Loose, Forward & Pub-Going Women. PCC asks participants to send a pair of pink women's undies (any size, style or fabric) to the head office of the Moral Police - mailing address found here.
No, Valentine's Day is not a part of traditional India. Neither are televisions, cell phones, DVD players or cars. Or speaking English, for that matter. Or cricket. What a great idea - let's get rid of all those, too!
Even in America, I personally always found "V D" to be an obnoxious holiday, regardless of one's relationship status. If you are not attached, VD sucks for obvious reasons. Even if you are, it puts insane pressure on the relationship to prove itself visually and materially. Yuck! But if someone chooses to celebrate it in whatever fashion, that is their choice. My anti-Valentine's friends and I used to have an annual "Love Stinks" party, the apex of which was playing the J. Geils anthem at full volume.
One of the Ram Sene's threats is "tie or die" - that any couple found holding hands or "canoodling" on the 14th will be forced (by them) to marry then and there on the spot. OR ELSE.
Now, despite the death threat, let's try to look at this in a positive way. What a great opportunity for all the gay and lesbian Indian couples who otherwise could never marry! Now's their chance!
Subhamoy Das of About.com Hinduism has thoughtfully provided an overview of (shock!) romantic love stories found in the annals of traditional Hinduism. The image at right is one of the more G-rated depictions found in "traditional" art.
Perhaps no other faith glorifies the idea of love between the sexes as Hinduism. This is evident from the amazing variety of mythical love stories that abounds Sanskrit literature, which is undoubtedly one of the richest treasure hoards of exciting love tales.
Let's face it, the western Cupid is just a cheap, cherubic ripoff of the god Kamadeva.
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