The caged bird was banned by the Taliban back in the day because probably its chirps would awaken life and the desire of life among men who should be only thinking of the fire of hell in the afterlife. Now President Mamnoon Hussain, in what can be termed a very Talibanesque move has urged Pakistan to not celebrate Valentine’s day. In Kohat, KP it has already been banned by the Nazim for being anti-sharia.
Seemingly in retribution from the skies, an outpouring of snow capped the Margallas on Wednesday afternoon, making young and old couples flock to the Islamabad hills, possibly hand in hand to enjoy chai and parathas while love warmed the air.
There is no surety that this attitude against valentine’s day will significantly plummet the number of young women dating on Feb 14th, but all government hopes are stacked towards it.
Meanwhile there are reports of the rising number of young fighters joining radical Islamic forces such as ISIS, Daesh and the Taliban from Pakistan. So far there has been no day set aside to emphasize a ban on that.
According to one account of its history, valentines day is said to have been originated by a jolly fellow called St. Valentine who secretly wed soldiers who were not otherwise be allowed to wed because of the belief that they would make for bad warriors.
Thanks to its dark and pagan origins of commemorating February for the uncanny thing called love, the Jamaat-e-Islami has been more afraid of the month than it has been of dancing girls or the ouija board. Considering it to be a direct threat to its political order, they have often come out on the streets in protest and outcry every first week of this month. In their ideal world, love would either not exist or be a whimper in the dark nights only to fade in the morning sun. As if it were a werewolf. Candies are the work of the devil and flowers are soul-destroying.
As George Orwell said: War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.
Most governments always cowed down to the Jamatis but never so absurdly before as to ban a benign a day as Valentines in a district. What’s next – Cyanide fed to birds that chirp?
And exactly how would an outright ban be ensured? A policing of the web for e-cards; a rounding up of flower stalls and heart-shape helium balloon sellers; a choking of romantic songs on FM radio stations; an executive order to TV shows that the only love dedications will be from sons to their mothers and vice versa?
How about focusing on governing? Improving maternal mortality; inoculating children better; improving disaster response and managing abject poverty in underserved areas? Also, how about managing the perversion of love better – the rising rate of rape cases; honor killings and acid burnings? On all these counts we don’t do any better from the top 5 worst countries in the world.
There is no cure for incompetence. There is also no cure for control freak-ry. The two often dwell together in larger beasts.
As for love or the expression of it, we need more of it as a nation not less. We are marred by way too many forced marriages and stove burnings. The only thing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day is that it isn’t celebrated more often.