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Proposing Brothers’ Day

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A local university, The University of Agriculture in Faisalabad, to be precise, is under ire from some quarters for being judgmental, they allege. Personally, I think the critics are being a bit too harsh for a move which is unique, to say the least.

Well, the university or UAF has announced it will celebrate ‘Sisters’ Day’ instead of Valentine’s Day on February 14. UAF Vice Chancellor Dr Zafar Iqbal Randhawa believes that the concept of Valentine is too westernised as well as old, so the varsity will be observing ‘Sisters’ Day’ “to promote eastern culture and Islamic traditions among the youth”. The vice chancellor further said that “UAF was mulling on a plan to distribute scarf, shawls and gowns” among female students on the day.

So instead of getting cute cards or fragrant flowers or chunky chocolates, girls will get some clothing items to protect their modesty. Come to think of it, cards are obsolete, flowers make you sneeze and chocolates add calories, so a couple of scarves and gowns will do no harm. You can toss bright scarves on your shoulder to add as an accessory and wait for a gown trend to begin to add to your wardrobe. Scarf is meant to cover the head? Well it isn’t mentioned in the quote, is it? Who’s being judgemental now?

Talking of judgement, many say the proposal is conservative, infringement of right, extremist, misogynist, etc. Come on, be a sport. Let’s try something new, let’s be innovative. Why do we have to copy everything from the West, why not give them an idea for a change?

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To make things even, I have a proposal. After all, the girls should also make some contribution. It’s the 21st century and we surely can’t stay behind. It’s extremely rude to just sit back and receive gifts. There should be some form of reciprocal.

So I propose celebrating a ‘Brothers’ Day’ simultaneously on February 14 to give a wholesome roundup on morality and eastern values. Just imagine the ambience, boys walking from one side, girls from another, chants of ‘beloved brother’ and ‘respected sister’ echoing from all sides; how soulful and uplifting! And as the brothers gift gowns, scarves and shawls to their sisters, their siblings can gift rosaries, prayer caps and dark glasses to keep the boys’ gazes away from evils of the society. The men can also receive shawls as gifts, to cover their manliness and complete their macho look right out of a Punjabi movie. With Maula Jutt on the edge of release, who knows, a new fad may be about to start.

Now, isn’t that a good idea? I can almost feel the brotherly and sisterly vibes oozing out on the campus of UAF. To enhance the effect, relevant music scores can also be added. Meri Choti Si Behan, Bahena O Bahena, Meri Pyari Behaniya Banegi Dulhaniya, Phuloon ka taaro ka-sabka kehna hai-Ek hazaroon mein-meri behena hai. So much better than the typical romantic, guitar and flute-orchestrated-boring-to-death tracks we have been listening to for ages. Imagine the liveliness in the atmosphere, and what better timing. With Basant around the corner, and recent lifting of its ban, the whole scene can be quite festive. The brothers and sisters can do a few bhangras together at the beat of the dhol. Objectionable? Why, I thought the VC wanted to promote eastern values, what can be more traditional than Basant?

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In fact, as an olive branch, I further propose that the idea be suggested to our neighbouring Indians as well. Once in a while, they also raise their heads against increasing western influence. Just like our mujahideens, their Hindu hardliners have become quite active these days. We can tell them that this concept can be a perfect reason for celebrating Rakhshabandhan once more in a year. I bet they would react by saying, “Aww, how considerate of them to remember us at this time”, and may be in future we can have this brother-sister celebration across the border too!

So, I believe there’s always a bright side to everything. There’s always positivity. There’s always some light at the end of every tunnel. Let’s accept a change. What about the love birds? Well, the proposal is all about the campus only, isn’t it? Love may not be in the air, but it can be anywhere!

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