Though the activists of the Dukhtaran-e-Milat a few days back visited some stationary shops in and around the city centre of Lal Chowk ahead of the Valentine’s Day to ensure that the Valentine greeting cards were withdrawn from the sale windows, many youths defied the hardline group’s diktats as if St. Valentine had decided to visit the city in disguise.
“It has nothing to do with morality or character. Valentine’s Day is an occasion to express one’s love and regard for somebody who has a very special and exclusive place in your life,” said Sajad, a youth here.
The Valentine’s Day celebrations have always been subdued in the valley even before the beginning of the separatist campaign here in 1990s.
“It is not a part of the local culture and, therefore, the youths have not had any special flair to celebrate the day. Yet, with internet and free access to information, the world has shrunken to an extended family. Youths are bound to pick up influences,” said a college teacher here declining to be named.
“At their age, youths are open to all kinds of influences. But trying to exert force so that such occasions are not celebrated would always be counter productive,” she added.
Cutting across barriers of region and culture, many youths were seen exchanging Valentine’s Day greetings, especially in the civil lines areas of the city Tuesday.