Well, they tried, and more power to them.
A shuddhikaran of that hate-filled, divisive, toxic organization (and others of the Hindutva brigade) would have considerably reduced pollution in the only vasudha we have, which is our kutumb, but the attempt was foiled by a compliant Delhi Police. However, Parliament Street Police Station was very shuddh indeed by the end of the day, its noxious atmosphere cleansed by the cosmic vibrations of music, dance and “marriages” among all sorts of human beings.
Mehndi ceremony inside parliament Street Police Station
This hilarious subversion of the idea of marriage, with which Hindu Mahasabha threatened lovers, is in fact a deeply political gesture against the institution of patriarchal, heterosexual marriage with all its violent hierarchies of age and gender, in which disobedient women and younger people are in the custody, much like prisoners in jail, of the patriarchs of the family, which include compliant women. There are no honour killings – these are custodial deaths, when families violently separate couples who chose to marry outside their caste or religious community, often killing one or both of them.
Shuddh Desi Romance inside Parliament Street Police Station
As Paromita Vohra put it:
Shaadi ya Barbaadi?
This cliched question has been raised in countless comedies and bad TV shows, asked by brash young feministish singletons and crass old sexist gents for years.
The Hindu Mahasabha has given it some thought. Their verdict is unambiguous: shaadi=barbaadi.
The Hindu Mahasabha, a group in Meerut, have declared that they will troll, sorry, trawl the streets on Valentine’s Day and ensure that any lover-like couple they see is married off (at their expense, I assume). Since they have expressed a generic distaste for relationships of choice, one can only imagine that they think marriage is a punishment and will cure people of love. I have it from good sources that they are not wrong, and in fact may find a deep philosophical support from janta on this count, but not much traction otherwise.
Swami Omji of Hindu Mahasabha and BJP member, who was co-ordinating police action, has proudly claimed for his organization the assasination of Mahatma Gandhi and equally proudly, and with no hindrance at all from ‘law and order’ agencies, has threatened to kill Arvind Kejriwal.
It would be a mistake to read these protests as many have, to be trivial and diversionary from ‘real issues’. As PK Yasser Arafath points out, criticizing Islamist and Muslim groups’ negative response to Kiss of Love protests in Kerala, these protests openly challenged certain dominant perspectives about the ‘body’, sex and morality, apart from expressly resisting the penetration of Hindutva into Kerala. Islamist antipathy to these protests in addition, says Arafath, misread Islam’s own engagement with the body.
There is no more revolutionary emotion than love – love has inspired more subversion, defiance of death and self-sacrifice than hate – love of nation, love of revolution, love of family, love for lovers.
Hate kills, love offers its own life.
Love turns the world inside out and upside down – love imagines a world in which, in Faiz’s immortal words:
Hum ahl-e-safa mardood-e-haram/Masnad pe bithaye jayenge
(We, the pure of heart, long forbidden from the sacred place/ We, yes, we will be seated on those high cushions.)
Raaj karegi khalq-e-khuda/Jo main bhi hoon aur tum bhi ho
(And then will reign the people of God/Which is I, and which is you),
Emma Goldman, anarchist feminist, said of love:
Love, the strongest and deepest element in all life, the harbinger of hope, of joy, of ecstasy; love, the defier of all laws, of all conventions; love, the freest, the most powerful moulder of human destiny…
Free love? As if love is anything but free! Man has bought brains, but all the millions in the world have failed to buy love. Man has subdued bodies, but all the power on earth has been unable to subdue love. Man has conquered whole nations, but all his armies could not conquer love. Man has chained and fettered the spirit, but he has been utterly helpless before love. ..Yes, love is free; it can dwell in no other atmosphere. In freedom it gives itself unreservedly, abundantly, completely. All the laws on the statutes, all the courts in the universe, cannot tear it from the soil, once love has taken root.
She was far less complimentary, to put it mildly, of marriage, asking incredulously, while celebrating the idea of the ‘Free Mother’ :
how can such an all-compelling force be synonymous with that poor little State and Church-begotten weed, marriage?
Che Guevara, whose revolutionary fire still survives its consumption as T shirts and ice cream, said of love:
At the risk of seeming ridiculous, let me say that the true revolutionary is guided by a great feeling of love. It is impossible to think of a genuine revolutionary lacking this quality.
Leonard P. Matlovich, gay US Air force officer and Vietnam war veteran, purposely outed himself to the military to fight their ban on gay soldiers. He was dismissed for this action. Here’s what his tombstone, which does not bear his name, says:
Aung San Suu Kyi, imprisoned by the Burmese junta, separated from her British husband and sons for ten years with hardly any communication between them, learnt at last that her husband had terminal cancer. He was repeatedly refused a visa to visit her for a final goodbye in Burma, but the junta was willing to let her go to Britain. She knew she would never be allowed to return, and her husband Michael Aris, was adamant that she should not take that risk. For them it was not either ‘love of country’ or ‘love of husband’ – their love for each other was inseparable from what Aung San Suu Kyi stood for and believed in – the freedom of her people. The maker of a film on Suu Kyi, ‘The Lady’, recounts what she learnt about the indomitable, the romantic, Suu Kyi’s last message to Michael Aris:
Once Suu realised she would never see Michael again, she put on a dress of his favourite colour, tied a rose in her hair, and went to the British embassy, where she recorded a farewell film for him in which she told him that his love for her had been her mainstay. The film was smuggled out, only to arrive two days after Michael died.
That love and passion for a person can be intimately linked to love and passion for a shared dream of fundamental social transformation, is evident in Savitribai Phule’s letter to her husband Jyotirao Phule:
There are many idiots here, as in Pune, who poison people’s minds and spread canards against us. But why should we fear them and leave this noble cause we have undertaken? It would be better to engage with the work instead. We shall overcome, and success will be ours in the future. The future belongs to us.
The future does indeed belong to us – lovers of love, intoxicated with the knowledge that we will, in our lifetime, see the growing ripple effects of revolutionary tremors and convulsions. That slowly but surely, these tremors and convulsions will shift all the old landmarks, all the old verities – and the Haters of Love wont even realize that the ground under their feet has slipped away decisively and forever.