With February 14 only a few days away, a university in Faisalabad has announced its plans to celebrate ‘Sisters’ Day’ as an alternative to Valentine’s Day. The University of Agriculture in Faisalabad (UAF) took the decision to ‘promote Islamic traditions.’
Female students on campus can be gifted scarves and abayas as gifts during the celebration. It has been decided by the vice-chancellor and other decision-makers at the varsity.
“These scarfs will be distributed by the university administration and, not their fellow male students,” said Vice-Chancellor Zafar Iqbal Randhawa. He added the goal was to ensure respect for women.
The University said the change aims to promote ‘eastern culture and Islamic traditions among the youth.
“In our culture, women are more empowered. They earn their due respect as sisters, mothers, daughters, and wives,” Randhawa said in his statement on the institution’s website.
“We were forgetting our culture, and Western culture was taking root in our society. UAF was mulling a plan to distribute scarves, shawls, and gowns printed with the UAF insignia among female students” on February 14, the statement added.
Valentine’s Day rebranded as ‘Sisters’ Day’
The Faisalabad University VC claimed that celebrating Sisters’ Day instead of Valentine’s day would allow “a soft image to develop.” Moreover, that people will realize that this is how much sisters are loved in Pakistan.
“Is there a love greater than that between brother and sister?” Randhawa asked. “On Sisters’ Day, it is greater than the love between husband and wife.”
Valentine’s Day is increasingly popular among the Pakistani youth. Many take up the custom of giving cards, chocolates, and gifts to their sweethearts to mark the occasion. However, the country remains a deeply traditional Muslim society where many disapprove of the holiday as a Western import in society.
It has been a subject of controversy in Pakistan for years. While some celebrate and support it, others protest against it. Anti-Valentine’s Day campaigns also surface in the form of banners strung up on streets throughout the country and on university campuses.
It is pertinent to mention that back in 2017 and 2018, the Islamabad High Court had ‘banned’ all Valentine’s Day celebrations. More so, the authorities warned the print and electronic media to ‘stop all Valentine’s Day promotions immediately’.
As expected, the university’s move has drawn both flak and praise in the public sphere. It seems set to gain more attention as February 14 draws closer.
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