Reuters, February 14, 2007
Hardline Hindu activists protested against celebrations of St Valentine’s Day in the Indian capital on Wednesday, calling them immoral and a corruption of the country’s ancient civilisation.
Marking the year’s most romantic day has become increasingly popular in India, led by retailers who do healthy business selling rose-coloured greeting cards and heart-shaped balloons, and restaurants offering discount candlelight meals for two.
But it has also sparked demonstrations.
About 150 members of the pro-Hindu political party Shiv Sena gathered in New Delhi, shouting “Down with Western culture!” and “Death to Valentine’s Day!” as they waved saffron-coloured flags.
“Valentine’s Day promotes obscene cards and nudity and encourages our youngsters to be publicly affectionate in parks and other places—this is against our ancient civilisation,” said Jai Bhagwan Goyal, head of Shiv Sena in the capital.
Tens of Shiv Sena protesters burnt Valentine’s cards in Jaipur and tried to enter the city’s main park to harass courting couples, but were stopped by police.
“Valentine’s Day is against Islamic teachings, our ethos and culture,” said Andrabi, chief of Dukhtaran-e-Milat (Daughters of the Muslim Faith).
Satellite television, the internet, films and travel have led traditionally conservative middle-class Indians to adopt more liberal attitudes towards sex.