In an advisory, the Lucknow University has asked its students not to roam inside the premises of the institution on Valentine’s Day and warned of disciplinary action against those violating the order. The advisory, dated February 10, has come under vociferous criticism from the students, who have called it ‘an example of chhoti soch (frivolrous thinking)’ on part of the university.
The advisory, signed by Lucknow University Chief Proctor Vinod Singh, and sent to the Hassanganj police station, the university police booth and all the concerned officials, also asked students to guard against “westernisation” of Indian culture and said the university would be closed on February 14 owing to Mahashivratri. “In recent years, it has been noted that students, influenced by the western culture, celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14. Students are informed that the university will remain closed on February 14 on the occasion of Maha Shivratri,” the order stated.
The advisory further asked students not to organise any cultural programmes or fests on that day and also requested the parents not to send their wards to the university. “There will be no classes, practical examinations or cultural programmes. Students are advised not to come to the university on the said date. The parents are also requested not to send their wards to the university,” the order said. “If anyone is found roaming or loitering on the campus unnecessarily, disciplinary action will be taken as per rules,” it warned.
University proctor Vinod Singh said the step was taken to avoid any kind of “conflict” because of the western culture and ensure that no “undesirable incident” took place on the day. “Last year, there was no holiday and no undesirable incident took place. But this year, the university is closed for Maha Shivratri and all the offices will be closed and most of the staff won’t be here. In that case, we do not want any undesirable incident to take place,” the proctor said, adding that professors have also been asked not to conduct any extra class on the day.
“An unwanted incident can take anytime. But we cannot know about it before it happens. All we can do is take steps to prevent it when there is a possibility of it. Also, most of the incidents take place for this western (culture)… we have some organisations like that and do not want any conflict. That is the main thing,” he added.
However, the order has not gone down well with the students. “You’ve declared a holiday on that day, but telling students to not enter university premises isn’t right at all. If we won’t enter the university, then who will?” asked one student.
This is not the first time that Lucknow University has been in news ahead of Valentine’s Day for all the wrong reasons. Last year, the varsity had asked students not to bring gifts or flowers to campus on Valentine’s Day to prevent any untoward incident or harassment of women. In 2014, the university ha dcome out with a list of rules to be followed by students on February 14.