Happy Valentines Day?

For the last week, I've been reading articles in HT regarding valentines protests here in India with some trepidation. It seems, Shiv Sena & Shri Ram Sene feel Valentines Day promotes Western views of love, dating & is generally against traditional Indian moral code. As the week progressed, their cries for banning of Valentines Day grew stronger & increasingly deranged.

What are Shiv Sena & Shri Ram Sene? As a rough generalization, both are far right political organizations - both now follow Hindutva doctrine - rejecting western culture in favor of Hindu ideals. For more information on Shiv Sena, check this, this or read this. Shri Ram Sene can be researched here.
The news of Valentines Day protesting came on the heels of last month's attack of women in a Mangalore pub by Shri Ram Sene. In both events, the relevant parties have issued statements about their desire to protect traditional Indian values - by rejecting the westernization of Indian youth. The irony of both claims is of course that the tactics used by protesters are anything but representative of good traditional values.

In the last week, Shiv Sena has announced they will shut down businesses (by force) participating in Valentines festivities, confront canoodling couples, and generally cause a scene across India. So, it was with great interest that I opened the paper this morning to see just what craziness would be documented in the news.

Generally speaking, it seems that Valentines day came and went with less disruption than years past. There were however a few incidents worth noting. In Agra, 6 protesters ran through a park & cut the hair of overtly romantic couples. In Madhya Pradesh a mob beat up a brother and sister they mistook for lovers.... (great move for your cause's PR there...) Elsewhere, one teen was married to a Donkey after protesters found him walking with a girl, and several couples had their faces blackened by protesters.

Now, yes - I do realize how ridiculous this sounds - especially to those of you reading from the States. But again, as is the case everywhere the actions of the few are not representative of all billion Indian citizens.

I was extremely pleased to find that those Indian's who are not exactly "down" with Shiv Sena had their own protests planned. Now of course they had planned your typical parties, pub nights, petitions & protests. However, none of these protests come anywhere near the impact of the Pink Chaddis (Pink Underwear) campaign.

In this campaign, scores of women from across India sent pink underwear, often with handwritten notes, to the desk of Shri Ram Sene's leader. Truly a case of guerilla protesting - and highly inventive. Mobilized on facebook, orkut, and blogspot - the campaign took off & received extensive press coverage. Below is the group's logo from their facebook page:

Not to be outdone, Shri Ram Sene has begun collecting pink Saree's to send back to those who sent in their knickers. Hey, I'll have to give them credit for creativity!

Ladies, If you would like to send a pair of your knickers, here is the information from the Pink Chaddi Campaign:

To: Pramod Muthalik,
Sri Rama Sene Office
No. 11, Behind New Bus Stand,
Gokhul road,
Lakshmi park,
PIN 580030