Can We Have Halal Valentine’s Day?
Lo and behold! We have become people of reaction. We sit patiently for some action and then we react. These days it is about the recent ban declared on Valentine’s day. Every single year we debate if celebrating valentine’s day or basant is going to make it better or worse for us. A new row of online wars starts between the liberals and conservatives and all doors to hell open.
Does Valentine’s day really clash with our cultural values?
Whenever anything foreign is introduced, voices against it start to surface. That is not a bad thing. It shows a society that is alive, that has an opinion. What matters is how civil is our reaction to the things some of us think to be unacceptable.
The controversy around Valentine’s day is a more sensitive one than the Black Friday sales that also raised questions which in turn became White and Green Fridays to become more homogeneous with our culture and religion.
Maybe soon we might be able to think of ways to come up with a halal version of Valentine. Who knows.
The more important question is to ask what is our culture?
Our culture has been an amalgamation of things from Pakistan and India. Our history does not allow us to have a culture that purely belongs to us. No matter what, our culture today is always going to clash with our religious values, especially with the orthodox.
Read the history of Valentine’s day here
Our media has been showing us content that never really went on the same lines as Islam. Even back in the 90’s we had shows like Music Challenge and Acting Challenge. Our dramas all tell stories of love stories, youth rebelling against parents, secret marriages, extra marital affairs. So why do we show our angst and become moralistic only on 14th February with more fervor than ever?
Valentine’s day means a boom for the retailers, media outlets, restaurants that introduce special deals, love themed products and love based content on television and radio. The biggest exploiters are perhaps the florists that raise the prices right at the beginning of February.
The Phool Walay
Only the other day I had to buy a bouquet for a our friend’s new born baby. The flowers that usually cost RS 200 were being sold for 300. When the haggling and bargaining started, I was forced to ask “bhai kia khas baat hai in phoolon mai?” To which he smirked and said, “baji, valentine ka mahina hai.” True story!
Pakistan Electronic media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) on Wednesday announced the ban on Valentine’s day this year. It gave out regulations that all television channels and radio stations will refrain from broadcasting anything shows related to 14th February. Islamabad High Court issued a similar order last year as well.
A petition was filed last year complaining that Valentine’s day is a source of immorality and indecency. Hence a day before the lovers’ day the banned was implemented.
Sabeen Mahmud was shot dead back in 2015 due to her liberal views. A prominent Karachi based activist, she a held a campaign ‘Let Love Happen’, protesting the ban on Valentine’s day.