Love might infuse some destabilising democracy into a feudal and fossilised society. When the poet Baz Bahadur fell in love with his Hindu queen Rani Roopmati, he wasn’t thinking of the dictates of his religion.
Love transcends politics and leads a pracharak and a sanyasin into the jaws of media gossip and public scandal when there should be no reason for either. Why should Uma Bharati and Govindacharya or for that matter anyone else apologise? Why should they bow and cringe to the geriatric Powers That Be and balk at the mention of the word "love"? Because they stand to lose their so-called public morality. They could lose their usp. They could lose the sanction of tradition and the blessings of the parivar. They could lose their popular legitimacy, their "sacred" leadership status, even their political careers.
The one emotion that the Bhakti saints strove for, the one emotion that Mirabai and Kabir sang for, the one emotion that infused the whirlings of the Sufis and the chants of Krishna Chaitanya, is to be rigidly denied to two people who were brave enough to challenge a coldly cruel tradition. And for such a challenge, he must be sent into exile and she must be imprisoned in her sanyasin’s robes. Such hypocrisy!
Yet love is rampaging through Bharat. Former prime ministers have written novels about it. Defence ministers might one day write a novel about it or at the least a short story. Prime ministers might one day write an epic poem on a life-long dream of love.
King Dushyant fell in love with Shakuntala even though she was a poor hermit’s daughter. In Silappadikaram, Kannagi loved Kovalan even though he betrayed her. When Cupid lurks in every tehsil and every taluka, St Valentine is not so "foreign" after all.