Even as Valentine’s Day fever has gripped the country, youngsters in Kashmir mainly want to stay from the celebration of love. While some in the Muslim-dominated state preach that Islam forbids such celebrations of “illicit” love, others say there can be no celebration in the Valley until the Kashmir issue is resolved and “ongoing bloodbath of innocent Kashmiris comes to an end.”
InUth team in Kashmir spoke to some youngsters to know what they have planned for the Valentine’s Day. The reactions were surprising.
Omer Bhat, a social activist affiliated with J&K Youth Development Forum, a voluntary group working for youth activism, equates Valentine’s Day with “cultural aggression not only on Kashmir but the entire Indian subcontinent. Since the day when western culture infiltrated into the subcontinent, we have been losing our ethical values and traditions. In this era of one night stand where lies that purity of love? So, basically such celebrations are actually abusing true love.”
Peerzada Muhammad Wasim, a student from Srinagar says there’s nothing to celebrate in the strife-torn region “awaiting resolution amid ongoing oppression on people.” “We want to give a clear message to people of India and to the entire world that Kashmir issue awaits resolution and till then there can be no celebrations. And yes, we don’t want to celebrate Valentine’s Day.”
Youth like Syed Mubashir and Hamid Javaid echo similar views. Javaid says, “Despite being young, I have never celebrated Valentine’s Day, nor I shall ever celebrate it.”
Farhat Qadir, a student preparing for entrance exams questioned national media’s hype around Valentines Day when “rights abuse were not being reported”. Referring to the recent encounter at Kulgam, Qadir says: “Every media channel reported that two Jawans were martyred in Kulgam but no one uttered a word about the martyrdom of two unarmed civilians and other mayhem unleashed by forces. Media never highlights rapes of our women and how police kill our brethren. Shame on you Indian media that you only want to discuss Valentine’s Day with us.”
Adil Ahmed another student says Valentine’s Day should not be celebrated as it “aims at legalizing (free) sex”. Businessman Asif Ali and Shakeel Ahmed held similar opinions.
But interestingly, amid so many voices against Valentine’s Day this guy uniquely spoke his heart out in favor of the celebrations. Akhter Rafiq Lone, a student says it’s a day for lovers and every lover must celebrate it. “Is Din Aashiq Dil Khol Kay Apni Baat Mehbooba Ko Keh Sakta Hai (On this day, a lover can open his heart out to his beloved),” he says.
Asked would he celebrate it and he replies with a smile: “Yes, I have my valentine and we have planned a date.”