Until college Valentines day was not very popular amongst us, infact I myself found it particularly silly to be gifting greeting cards and flowers. Those days were also the no lover days so it didnt particularly matter. We used to think its the Archies Gallery sort of people who are promoting the festival just to ensure their card sells. A lot of us thought that for expressing love why just one day, the lovers always express their love and gift each other.
However one event in our college changed Valentines for us in a strange way, thought I should share… Heres how it goes… this happened in 1998
Part – I – the scene -
We used to study in Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda which is India’s single largest standing university. We do not have colleges but we have faculties. We would have all sorts of rose days, chocolate days, traditional days, musical days and what not. Similarly each faculty in our University would celebrate the Rose King and Rose Queen on Valentines day. The idea was to bring lots of flowers at 10rs. count them and sell in the college at 25rs. when you bought the flower you would tell for whom you bought it !!!! so they would note it down and then at the end of the day the Rose King and Rose Queen would be announced. Where the money would go no one knew !!!!!
My group never much celebrated as we were always broke for money, rather we would buy cigarettes and chai’s and nashta’s then spend on roses and cards.
In the second year of our college some Bajrang Dal people had ransacked a few shops and also warned the university not to celebrate.
Part – 2. – the Bapu’s -
In our university there were huge number hostels and hostelites. In our university hostel campus there were atleast 8 to 10 huge halls in the boys section and similarly in girls section. My roll number in FY Bcom was 4827 !!!! so you can imagine the number of students….
In all the boys hall, room no. 51 & 52 would be occupied by Bapu’s. They were all from Rajasthan, Rajputs and they were Dada’s of a sort. Most of them were huge in size and we Gujju’s would look like dwarfs in front of them. A lot of them were illegal residents in the hostel, but who would take on them or stop them. They would come and exchange their old beds for your new ones, their broken buckets with your new ones and what not….
They would always be in denims, they would only drive Enfield bullets and not a lot of people would be allowed in their groups easily. They would eat like crazy, drink like crazy and if any one came into a fight with them they would beat them like crazy….
We would always hide our things when they would come to our rooms, especially ghar ka khana, soaps, deodarants etc or they would just ask, “Arre Can I borrow this ?” all of us were in such awe usually would never refuse and they would take it away. They always had the most beautiful girls as their girlfriends and even if they broke up no one would dare to get tooo cosy with that girl fearing the Bapu back lash !!!
They had a customary style of greeting, ” Khambhakhani Bapu” and they were truly the kings of the college.
Main Story -
Our commerce faculty is on the main road and very near to the outside world, Most of these Bapu’s are in commerce. The faculty was celebrating Rose Day on Valentines… making rose king and queen… The Bapu’s were sitting at their customary place outside the canteeen and every one was watching the proceedings…. We rarely attended lectures as attendance was not compulsory in our college. The campus was abuzz…
It was at this point some 8-10 Bajrang Dal activists came in college campus to stop the rose day celebrations… the guys who brought the roses and were going to earn from it were the G.S (general secreatary etc the election winners) they were powerful and our number was huge… those 8-10 activists were beaten up !!! They were sent out of college… they ran…. for their lives we thought !!!!
But in another hour they returned with hockey sticks and atleast 50-60 people…. the scene was set…. for the collegians to now run….
This was the time when the Bapu’s stepped in and told all, not told actually warned every one, no body will run, we are more then 1000 here… these 50-60 and they are no match for us… the Bapu’s even warned us the one who runs… ” Koi nahi Bhagega, Agar Koi yahan se Bhaga to Uski kher nahi, Inka college se koi lena dena nahi, Inko hum sabak sikhayenge !!! “
What ensued there after was unbelievable, those 50 -60 people were bashed up like anything…. most of them ran away but 3-4 were caught and they were given a bashing of their lives….
The Bapu’s (Dada’s of that time, some called them goonda’s) became the heroes of the college… Every one from that day onwards had a sense of respect towards them…
The next day again was celebrated as the Baasi-Valentines Day. In Gujarat there is a system of Baasi-Uttrayana, Baasi Eid etc… meaning the day after is still celebrated as people are not content with just the one day !!
Not one Bajrang Dal activist dared to come near any faculty there after…. It actually was very symbolic the next day for all to celebrate Valentines day just to show to these goons that they don’t matter…. For many years it was like that, in my mind too that I should celebrate Valentines day, not just for it is a day to express your love, but more so to show that Shiv Sena’s, Bajrang Dal’s etc cannot control us.
It is strange that since the last few years we almost had forgotten to celebrate it, but it was this idiot from Mangalore who again aroused the same feelings of our college days.
I would like to tell all don’t run and don’t take the beating from any one if you are innocent. We are too many and the goons are too less…. Some say this Pink Chaddi is vulgar, well it is a lot lot better… Our Bapu’s campaign would probably have been to give the Mangalore goonda’s even worse treatment then the one they gave to the innocent girls in Mangalore.
And by the way -
” Happy Valentine’s Day !!!!”