New Delhi: Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the globe with enthusiasm and people often try to do something novel to express their feelings and celebrate the Day.
One such interesting Valentine’s Day celebration happens to be Hindu College’s ‘Virgin Tree puja’. One of the most enduring V-Day legends for generations of students, the Virgin Tree has been synonymous with romance, first love, and a unique ritual that takes place on February 14 each year. Hindu College is a constituent college of Delhi University.
But following protests against Hindu College’s ‘ritual’ or tradition of worshipping the Virgin Tree by various student organisations as sexist last year and clashes between members of SFI, Pinjra Tod, members of the boys’ hostel, the administration of Hindu College has now, reportedly, denied the permission to organise any such event this year.
“The Hindu College administration and principal in a meeting with the representatives of the girls and boys hostel, WDC (Women Development Cell) and other common students supporting and opposing the Virgin Tree ‘puja’, announced that the will be discontinued from this year,” read a statement shared by the SFI unit of Hindu College, reports the Times of India.
It further read, “This is a victory of the progressive student movement of Hindu College that has been resisting the regressive and patriarchal for years. Last year, Hindu College witnessed a historic protest against the Virgin Tree puja by the students of Hindu College supported by the SFI, Pinjra Tod and the Hindu College Progressive Front.”
The statement also said that the puja will be replaced by an inclusive alternate event, involving the celebration of love.
Though no written statement has been issued by the college authorities, the students say that it is a positive step against the “discriminatory ritual”.
Ujjwal, the president of the boys’ hostel, declined to comment on the issue, and the union of the girls’ hostel is also yet to release an official statement. Members of the WDC also shared that they will release an official statement later in the day on Wednesday.
Virgin Tree puja
It’s not just any tree in the premises of Hindu College. According to reports, the Virgin Tree has been synonymous with romance, first love and a unique puja that takes place on February 14 each year.
No one can tell exactly when the tradition of worshiping the tree started but the Virgin Tree has existed since the 70s. Many believe they lost their single status thanks to “Damdami Mai Ki puja” on Valentine’s Day.
For the annual puja, the tree is decorated with balloons, condoms and posters of Damdami Mai, who is an actress picked by boys hostel students each year. The boys worship her by sticking a poster of the actress to the tree. When women students started objecting against it as “objectifying women as Damdami Mai”, a male actor joined her, who was llater christened as “Love Guru”. Last year a poster of a happy couple ‘Virat Kohli and Anushka Sharma’, was put up for the ritual.