BY ALI NAQVI –
Most people have no idea what Valentine’s Day is all about in terms of its origin and history. Well, nobody bothers to give it a few seconds of their ‘busy’ lives to at least look up Wikipedia. I will not delve into the history of Roman festival of Lupercalia and how it came to be known as Valentin’s Day or the history of the Saint for whom the occasion was later named after. If my reader has read this far, I am sure he/she will look it up.
Should we celebrate 14th February as Valentine’s Day? Whenever there is a ‘should’ in a question, it becomes vague and at times nonsensical. If you are fortunate enough to find a moment or an occasion that is worth celebrating there is no point in letting it go by. Why most people, in our society, become circumspect, indecisive and intolerant to the extent of violence in matters related to happiness and pleasure?
Did you ever encounter the question whether we should be sad and sorrowful when something tragic happens to us? We don’t, because we know there is no other way to go about it. Happiness, pleasure and the feelings of joy have always looked down upon by most religions. It is this religious conditioning that makes pleasure guilt and celebration undesirable. It is difficult to emerge from the quagmire of conditioning even if you know what you believe is contrary to reason and truth.
Those who sincerely think that it is not appropriate to express one’s feelings of love on Valentine’s Day have the choice not to do so. The problem arises when people choose for others. Instead of keeping themselves to their own notions of right and wrong they try to get the world on the path of righteousness.
When we say humans are the best of creatures, we mean that we have the higher ability to do things other animals cannot. Take communication for example. All animals do that, but man acquired the ability to transcend the simple communication to the most intricate and advanced moods of interaction we call language. It does not stop here, the language in its turn is further refined into art, literature, poetry and music.
AJM, a company dedicated to the promotion of music in Pakistan, has recently started a competition for Valentine’s Day on Facebook called “Valentin’s Day Challenge”. It was an open invitation to anyone who likes to express his/her feelings of love in a romantic way either by singing, poetry recitation or a romantic thought. Unlike AJM’s previous Meray Paas Tum Ho Challenge the people seemed reluctant to participate in this one. Maybe we are a society open to violence, corruption and falsehood but not to love and affection.
When are we going to grow up as a nation? When are we going to be mature enough to see the essence of things rather than the outward appearance? Western culture and eastern culture are terms that divide people. Discrimination on the basis of culture has done more harm than a dominant culture has ever done to its weaker counterpart. Valentine’s Day or no Valentin’s Day, that is not the question. The real questions are not usually bothered and mostly taken for granted.