The government schools in Chhattisgarh had started this ritual two years ago after Asaram Bapu, now in jail facing rape charges, suggested to the chief minister that Valentine’s Day should be replaced with ‘Matru Pitru Diwas’.
However, from this year, the state government has institutionalized this practice. “Now, parents’ day is being celebrated. No separate orders will be issued every year in this regard,” a circular from the Directorate of Public Instruction, which controls the government schools, said.
As per the new February 14 rituals, parents are invited to schools where their children garland them, perform aarti, and offer them sweets.
Incidentally, just four days ago, the Hindu Mahasabha — in news for its failed bid to install the bust of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse had issued a statement, calling upon the youth to celebrate Valentine’s Day as Mata Pita Pujan Diwas.
The Mahasabha has elaborate plans against Valentine’s Day celebrations. Couples found celebrating the Valentine’s Day, dubbed as a ‘foreign festival’ by the Mahasabha, will face a variety of punishments. While a prompt Arya Samaj wedding will be forced on Hindu couples, inter-faith partners will have to sit through a ‘shuddhikaran’ (purification) ritual, the Mahasabha said.
Mahasabha national president Chandra Prakash Kaushik tolf TOI: “India is a country where all 365 days are days for love, why then must couples observe only February 14 as Valentine’s Day?”