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Love, the strongest word of all, elicits a range of emotions from different people. In the eyes of an adolescent, love is a romantic movie with grand gestures and over-the-top proclamations of love. In the eyes of a college-goer, love is an American pie movie with sexual discovery and burning passion. But in the eyes of orthodox Indians, love is a movie hypothetically approved by sanskaar guru, Alok Nath. In their eyes, love is what happens after an ad-based arranged marriage between families, not hot-blooded college relationships.

The concept of love and the institution of marriage in the minds of orthodox Indians is impregnated with irony. From a very young age, girls are told to stay away from boys and ordered to not engage in conversation with them. They’re warned about love marriages and the repercussions of falling in love with someone from a different caste. But as soon as they turn 22, these very same girls are expected to get married to a stranger their parents found through a marriage broker or a matrimonial website.

Relationships in India, college or adult, have always been under the sanskaar scrutiny lens and have been criticised by orthodox institutions and people. Calling it the “harmful” influence of the West, college relationships in particular have always been the victim of harsh criticisms and protests.

But why do college relationships intimidate orthodox Indians even when they have nothing whatever to do with their personal lives?

Religious groups and various political parties believe that rapid westernization in India is corrupting young minds. Because something natural like love and sex don’t exist in Indian culture, right? But there are times when these extremists go a little too far with their protests and set back India’s progress a million years.

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Valentine’s Day in western countries signifies the celebration of love with roses, teddy bears, and candle-light dinners. But Valentine’s Day in India signifies the celebration of fear with forced marriage and compulsory raksha bandhan ceremonies.

Shiv Sena, a prominent political party in Maharashtra, is infamously known for threatening establishments that sell Valentine’s Day merchandise, attacking couples in public, forcibly marrying couples, or forcing the girl to tie a rakhi to the boy. And westerners thought an expensive dinner and extravagant gifts would make their Valentine’s day memorable.

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Valentine’s Day or anything related to love is condemned by these religious groups and political parties because, in their minds, it encourages obscene and vulgar acts.

But these orthodox Indians don’t stop there, despite the ridiculousness of the situation.

Last year in August, the Mumbai police decided to undergo a makeover and come out of the sanskaar salon as moral police instead. They conducted a raid in Madh Island and Aksa, arresting consenting couples in hotel rooms on the grounds of public indecency. They arrested 40 couples in this unnecessary raid and even asked the college students to call their parents.

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The moral police and orthodox thinkers who claim to protect Indian values are just threatened by the acceptance of sex and love by the modern and liberal Indian society. They’re threatened that the oppressing values passed down from generations won’t be carried forward or known to future generations. They’re threatened that the Indian youth have found their voice — a voice that fights back against this oppression and judgment, and that it may diminish their dominance over the country.

For these guys, it’s no longer about restoring Indian culture and its lost values; it’s about losing control to progression and modernity and feeling helpless about it.