February 14, 2005


Happy Valentines day to all. Although Valentine's day is being widely celebrated in Bangladesh since 1994, love is part of Bengali culture from the beginning. Lots of old Bengali literatures were inspired by this notion, which is one of the main driving factor of our lives. Love crosses all barriers like religion, race and country. Apart from the love birds, parents show their love to children and vice versa, friends exchanges gifts on this day. It is becoming a widely enjoyable and healthy celebration in Bangladesh. You can find many valentine gift e-commerce sites (just google) offering services in Bangladesh. Last night, while purchasing gifts for my wife and sister from a hallmark outlet, I saw plenty of young people lining up to buy cards and gifts for their siblings, parents, teachers and of course their loved ones.

But it seems that many of the older generations try to give no importance to this event. Some extremist quarters might as well see evil in this. However Bangladesh seldom faced problem in celebrating Valentine's Day like Saudi Arabia, where the religious authorities have issued a fatwa:

"A Muslim is prohibited from celebrating, approving or congratulating on this occasion"

This year, young people were awestruck by another fatwa, by the supposed to be the progressive political parties lead by Awami League. They have declared a 36 hour long hartal (strike) across the country. The ruling qualition decided to challenge the opposition protest by their own rallies across the country. More than 10,000 troops are on the streets to tackle the face off. This means schools, shops and restaurants remain closed today. Lovebirds have no option other than to be confined in the home and try to communicate via phone where available.

Nashat observes:

All the couples of the city is now acting like a bomb ready to Xplode. At least 15-20 of my friends has already declared that they'll never cast their vote for the Awami League(leader of the opposition parties)...now that tells how nastily politics can affect the lovers...Sad...really sad

I think Awami League should transfer their leadership to more younger persons until it is too late for them.


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