Valentine's Day

Love in the age of capitalism

Published On: February 14, 2021 07:00 AM NPT By: Ruka Pandey

We in the East should be able to capitalize on love story of Radha and Krishna. Let us make it global as Valentine Day has been globalized.

Everything seems to be programmed by capitalist market system, even the scripture of love. Lovers across the glove are acting accordingly. We are the puppets in the hands of capitalist market system.

Love affairs happen more in big cities than in rural areas. Access to television, movie theaters, shopping complex, modern communication gadgets, fashion, and capitalist education system have played a big role in implanting modern love and emotion in the hearts of lovers.

From the moment of birth, we grow up hearing the romantic mythology and love stories in movies, novels, poetry, music, newspapers etc.  The entertainment industry shapes lovers' ideology of love and lovers see the world through the same lens.

Let us take Raute people of Nepal. They have love and emotion but they are not possessed by capitalist ghost or Western culture. They are somehow pure, natural as humanity used to be before the invasion of capitalist global market system.

The Western cultural hegemony is so huge that lovers are expressing their love in Western style. From gift giving culture to partner to dress code to candle light dinner to wine culture—everything is Westernized.

 Love and emotion are supposed to be socio-culturally different but in present capitalist global market system, it looks mostly similar. The scripture of love and emotion has been already written by Western global capitalist market.

The Valentine’s Day is a part of it though the story of Saint Valentine is shrouded in mystery for many of us. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius-II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers secretly. When this was discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. His sentence was carried out on February 14, 270 AD near a gate of Church of Praxedes in Roma. This day is dedicated to Saint Valentine and celebrated around the world on February 14.

The message of Saint Valentine was devotional and religious but it has been commercialized globally.

We have more powerful love stories in our culture but they are not talked about much. Story of Radha and Krishna represents pure love. It is believed that Krishna enchants the world but Radha enchants even Krishna. Therefore Radha is the supreme goddess of all. According to various researches and studies, Lord Krishna never married Radha. According to the Vedas, Krishna believed that marriage is an agreement or arrangement while love is a selfless emotion. The love story between Radha and Krishna could be an inspiration for love birds.

Thus, here we could be celebrating a dedicated day for love in memory of Radha and Krishna instead of Saint Valentine but we have not been able to tell the story of love of Radha and Krishna to the wider world. We celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna but not the love of Radha and Krishna. There should be Radah-Krishna love day because they are the most famous lovers of all time. Radha and Krishna should be the idol of each lover but this is not happening.

Love and emotion used to be socio-culturally and geographically different. Rarely do lower caste and higher caste people fall in love because the former are considered as ‘untouchable.’ There are more unsuccessful love stories between upper caste and lower caste people, though the upper caste people do not mind having sexual intercourse with lower caste people.

However, the curtain is falling down to some extent. The invasion of capital market system is dismantling existing social evils like caste discrimination. Love and marriage is happening between so-called upper caste and lower caste people.

With the rise of capitalism, market opened up, mobility increased and the standard of living improved. Capitalism also led to the breakdown of rural communities and traditions.

The idea here is not to valorize Radha and Krishna and undermine Saint Valentine. My point is we in the East should be able to capitalize on love story of Radha and Krishna. Let us make it global as Valentine Day has been globalized.

Let us have a dedicated day for Radha and Krishna because Radha and Krishna also do justice to both male and female genders. Their love affairs can give great message to the world.

Love knows only giving and never asks for anything in return. It is like a river, flowing, unending. May this day bring more love among us!

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