Published: 14th February 2020
Why Delhi's Hindu College is worshipping the Virgin Tree on V-Day for the past 70 years
Even though Principal Dr Anju Srivastava had criticised the ritual and said that this should stop as soon as possible, there has been no notice banning the event, said students
Single men waiting to fall in love or even praying to God for that is nothing uncommon but the students of Delhi University's Hindu College have taken it a step further. They celebrate Valentine's Day by worshiping a V-shaped tree or the Virgin Tree. It is believed to be good luck to participate in this puja and whoever is a part of it will be in a relationship within six months and losing their virginity in the next one year — this ritual is being practiced for almost 70 years now.
Even though Principal Dr Anju Srivastava had criticised the ritual and said that this should stop as soon as possible, there has been no notice banning the event, said students. "They are not serious about the issue. They haven't put out any notice banning the event and ultimately some of the students with help from the ABVP did organise the event," said a student on the condition of anonymity. "This spreads heteronormativity, which means that heterosexuality, predicated on the gender binary, is the norm or default sexual orientation. And the ritual also objectifies women along with preaching that homosexuality is illegal," she added as the Hindu College Progressive Front protested and demanded action against those who participated or organised the puja. Calls to the Principal's office went unanswered. The copy will be updated once we hear from them.
Every February 14, the students of the boys hostel organise a puja where they worship one of Bollywood's leading ladies as Damdami Mai, with her poster stuck to the tree. The students conduct a poll to decide whose poster goes up based on the highest sex appeal. The students also decorate the tree with condoms. Since last year they have also started worshipping a male actor — they call him Love Guru. Last year, posters of Jacqueline Fernandez and Ranveer Singh were on the tree while this year Deepika Padukone replaced Jacqueline. The Mr Fresher of that year dresses up as a priest to perform the puja. "We cannot allow an aggressive and unhealthy tradition on sexuality in a university. This will only mean that we accept a culture that only allows the expression of a single idea of sexuality without caring about who is excluded," said Yogita Suresh, an alumni of the college who has been protesting against the ritual for the past four years.