Valentine’s Day and the days leading to it have always sparked controversies in India. From the moral policing brigades attacking lovers to state governments declaring the day as ‘Parents Day’ to interesting reactionary campaigns like ‘Pink Chaddi Campaign‘, the social media is usually abuzz with news and opinions (and ‘couple selfies’) on this day every year. But this Valentine’s day, rather than declaring their love or citing our ‘Kamasutra’ lineage, Facebook junta was busy analyzing the embers of the JNU row and their cheeky love messages had taken a backseat to fiery debates.
Well, for today’s Needull, I have tried to touch on both the issues – love and hatred. Imagine a Needull that talks about finding love in the backdrop of hatred. Imagine the scarred city of Sarajevo and its bullet hole ridden buildings, a gruesome reminder of the sectarian violence it has seen, and then read this wonderful story about cross-cultural love blooming within those buildings. When award-winning photographer Chris Leslie of The Guardian visited this city recently, he was amazed to accidentally encounter two couples who reminded him that it’s in the darkness of hatred that the light of love shines the most.
“While most people were desperate to leave Sarajevo, I was heading straight towards it,” Ivona recalls. “I didn’t think of the dangers, I just knew Elvir was my soulmate, my other half. When I came out of that tunnel at the other end, Sarajevo was laid out in front of me – devastated, desperately sad, but mine.”