By: Syed Adnan Ali Chishty
Every year on February 14, the whole world celebrates Valentine’s Day and Pakistan too is no exception This is a day that marks the love between a man and woman. Arguably, that love of a couple could be between husband and wife, man and his fiancée, girlfriend and boyfriend, and etc.
While part of our intellectual society, every year, is often found defending its celebration, insisting that Valentine’s Day does not just refer to a romantic love of unengaged or unmarried couples but only to a married couples pertinent to our society.
However, as per Google’s understating of Valentine’s Day, it is a day when it is traditional to send a card, often anonymously, to a person one is romantically involved with or attracted to. For that matter, uncle Google exemplifies this statement: “I want to be with the woman I love on Valentine’s Day”. You may please set your records straight.
Also, there is a lot more into this [festival] than celebrating just a love day. For instance, markets are decorated with red roses. Red heart-shaped balloons are hanged by the walls of restaurants and offices. In some cases, even schools are abound in Valentine’s Day-related messages. Exchange of red color gift cards full of hearts and love messages are prevalent everywhere, aiming at shaping up minds of our youth to indulge in the significance of this day.
Ironically, we being a society, always remain divided over justification of its celebration and refusal alike, persisting that it is a matter of religious and anti-religious. And it seems that the Right-Wing and the Left-Wing elements always grace the arena with tools like arguments and examples to validate their viewpoints, leaving their followers in a fix. Nevertheless, let’s review what our nation collectively and our youth specifically make off with the rhetoric that supports its festivity.
Let’s take it this way:
- Young boys and girls think that it is ok to exchange romantic messages with anyone (strangers).
- To call anyone (strangers) and talk romance is justifiable on this day.
- Eve-teasing on the streets is acceptable that often leads to dire consequences.
- Personal Live Steaming on Facebook discussing romance is not a problematic.
- Sending red roses, balloons, love cards to people they like are the sole norms of this day.
- Sharing romantic messages on Social Media and tagging strangers are key to honor this day.
Frankly speaking, the role of our Traditional and Social Media has always been very irresponsible when it comes to Valentine’s Day’s syndrome, maybe owing to vested financial interests? One can count on non-stop bombardment of advertisements, video clippings, experts’ analysis, programs, special discounts offers, exclusive deals and what not that promote and vindicate the day without realization of its consequences that could be very horrifying and upsetting alike.
In a world of Social Media and Smart Phones under access of all and sundry, do we need any specific date to celebrate this day? Since it is being celebrated every day and night by our youth via these devices and gadgets, though the phenomenon is always looked down upon by many.
On the contrary, I would support the idea of celebrating World Food Day to its fullest or at least more than the Valentine’s Day. I mean, how many of us, know that the World Food day is observed every year on October 16? I’m sure not many.
Ours is the struggling and developing economy with a number of unresolved issues, whereas hunger being one of the core among them. Our youth is already frustrated and divided due to incessant messages being transmitted through media that do not conform to their social norms and values. Then, pushing them to Valentine’s Day celebration, contrary to their family values, will leave them further frustrated.
Ideally, what if, the funds spent that day-related extravaganzas be consumed to offer free food for homeless. The events, marking free food and clothes distribution, be arranged across the country with zeal and fervor. Free education and medical facilities for some underprivileged families be taken care of. Our youth be encouraged to share ideas to serve the disadvantaged segments in our communities.
Such activities shall provide a practical opportunity to our youth to feel connected and responsible towards communities besides being involved in a love that might be more solace and spiritual than other and vice-versa.
As being described a Socially Constructive Move, Islamabad High Court (IHC) has put a ban on Valentine’s Day-related celebrations across the country. Interior Ministry followed the IHC footsteps in the decision. Aside from this, our very own President of the State Mr. Mamnoon Hussain has suggested that Valentine’s Day does not link to our cultural values so celebrating the same ought not to be appreciated.
Story first published: 14th February 2017