Love is a many splendored thing — even, or possibly more so, when it’s banned.
As they do most years, a number of Valentine’s Day-hating governments and political parties sought Tuesday to put an end to the holiday of ardor.
But this year, many of those efforts fell flat, as lovers flaunted government orders and openly defied bans.
The Shiv Sena party, which regularly protests the holiday in India, halted its efforts in Delhi.
A leader of the party said the group gave up its protest this year because no one was listening, DNA India reports.
“What is the use? What is the point of doing such protests?” said Shiv Sena's Delhi convenor Om Dutt Sharma. “We cannot stop them from celebrating, and we are getting a bad reputation among them,” he said.
Instead, folks gathered in the capital city’s park Lodhi Gardens for a counter protest #flashreads event, where people publicly read books — some of them amorous — that political groups have censored.
Uzbekistan authorities, who in January announced they were canceling Valentine’s Day concerts and replacing them with a government-organized Medieval poetry reading, were similarly defied Tuesday.
A survey on the independent Uzbek news Web site, uznews.net, found that most Uzbeks not only wouldn’t be attending the poetry reading, but would also celebrate V Day as usual, by eating out or going to a club.
Many young Malaysians also ignored a government announcement last month, saying authorities would crack down on “immoral acts” during the holiday.
More than 80 young Muslims were arrested in budget hotels and public parks Tuesday and charged with being in “close proximity,” a crime punishable by a jail term of up to two years, the BBC reports.
Despite a ban on the holiday, Iranians may have been the most rebellious, with people in Tehran openly shopping for gifts and making dinner plans, Reuters reports. Iranian authorities banned heart-shaped products, Valentine cards and celebrations last year because the holiday encouraged the spread of Western culture.”
“Love knows no boundaries,” a 27-year-old university student named Mehran told Reuters, as he tried to get a restaurant reservation for him and his girlfriend at a fully booked restaurant.
“I just want to live like other young people around the world,” high school student Reza Khosravi echoed, while buying three red roses for his girlfriend. “I want to have fun. I want to love and to be loved.”
For all the lovers of the world, here’s “I love you,” said in 100 different languages: