VALENTINE'S DAY and all the controversies.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated all over the world today. From the Business houses dealing in greeting cards and little love trinkets to sellers of gold and diamonds, all are involved in promoting this festival as a festival of lovers, of course encouraging them to send messages of love, flowers or gifts to each other.

In India and many other countries some Pseudo fundamentalists and the hard core fundamentalists have declared war on this day. They dub it as a cultural assault on their culture and have tried to sabotage this festival time and again. Of course it is undoubtedly true that many of these protests against Valentine ’s Day celebrations are politically motivated. In my opinion it is done to get cheap political mileage, some free media coverage, and also as a self sanctioned right to create some hooliganism and Goondaism. Many of these so called protestors have often been seen them selves indulging in eve teasing and vulgarism under the pretext of stopping vulgarism.

In fact, it all went beyond any rational level of tolerance when the irresponsible and misdirected youngsters assaulted some young women in Mangalore and Bangalore. It was the height of unconstitutional trespass on the privacy of some young ladies, by the self styled sentinels of society, who should be dealt with very sternly by law. This is nothing else but cultural terrorism. Our focus on religious terrorism, growing out of religious intolerance, should not in any way make us take a lesser notice of or ignore, this cultural terrorism, or it shall become even a bigger nuisance for us, the peace loving citizens. In India the biggest fear is, the hijacking of such or any other cultural issue, by our very corrupt and narrow minded politicians, to turn it into a political agenda under the garb of pseudo nationalism to gain pure political mileage.

I appeal to the youth of my nation, to guard against any infringement of their freedom, by these moral less moral cops, and also guard against the wily and sly politician from misusing this issue.

Now let’s also look at the true story behind this day, and the pious and great personality of Saint Valentine. Before we do so, we first need to free our selves from the prejudice of being a Hindu, Sikh, Moslem, Christian or belonging to any religion. We in fact need to look at all the great personalities of the world, irrespective of what region or religion they come from as belonging to us, the great humanity.

Saint Valentine was a soldier of truth, human rights and human dignity. Legend states that the Claudian Caesar or the emperor of Claudius was a narrow minded ruler. He was a bigoted religious fundamentalist who was against any change; He went against a saintly gentleman later called Saint Valentine, along with St. Marius, because these two men helped those people who were being prosecuted by the emperor for not following the state recognised Pagan religion. Emperor Claudius was a dictator and an autocrat who had crossed all limits of rational thinking. He had issued an order under which marriage for young people was forbidden, in order to increase troops for his army. He also forbade young men to marry, believing that single men made better soldiers than married men.
This was a direct breach of basic human rights. It needed a lot of courage, to defy such a diktat of a ruthless autocrat, but there was one great man in Claudius, who risked his life to defy this crazy ruler, and upheld human freedom and dignity. This man was a simple man of courage and conviction and was called Valentine.
Valentine rebeled against the ceaser's decree and urged young lovers to come to him in secret so that he could join them in the sacrament of matrimony. Eventually he was discovered by the Emperor, who promptly had Valentine arrested and had him brought before him. After meeting Valentine th emperor in fact was impressed with the young priest, so much so that Claudius attempted to convert Valentine to Roman paganism and offered him freedom and forgiveness of state if he changed his religion and accepted the Roman official religion as his own from now on. However, Valentine held steadfast to his beliefs and in turn attempted to explain to Claudius the futility of being so intolrant. When the Emperor could not convert him, he had Valentine imprisoned and condemned him to death.

While in prison, Valentine was tended by the jailer of the prison and his blind daughter. . Legend has it that Valentine miraculously restored the sight of the jailer's blind daughter.

The night before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a farewell message to the girl and signed it affectionately "From Your Valentine" a phrase that lives on. He was executed on February 14th, 273 AD in Rome. He was beaten and beheaded but never excepted the mastery of an emperor's will over his personal ideology or philosophy of a life, an ideology of absolute freedom and the common folk's rights to freedom of expression, beliefs and lifestyle as per their own free will.

Today valentine has become universal symbol of friendship and affection. Anniversary of Valentine’s execution has become the St. Valentine's Day. Saint Valentine is also the patron saint of engaged couples. Because of his courage and loving compassion, today Saint Valentine is a Saint not only to the Christians but for all humanity, just like the great saints of India, who sacrificed their lives for the principles, of justice and truth, that they stood for, and stand for even today, if not in body, but in spirit, as the spiritual embodiment of their preaching.

To listen to a nice love song click the link below.
Balwant Gurunay Mba, PgPr.

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