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Sunday, February 14, 2010

With love from St. Valentine

Dear Lovesumers in Bangladesh,

Hope you are all set to celebrate the global day of love. The more you share it, the more it grows, the more I become richer. Call it globalisation, call it cultural invasion, call it simple expression of love...Bangladesh is just one of the markets where I have successfully managed to own the day and date by branding it to be mine.

Although moral polices and CCTV parents, neighbours and big brothers are a threat to the spreading of love on this day and beyond, I really don't see any problem if some money is made in the process of expressing, sharing and preaching love with your beloved ones especially today. Other than making sure that some flowers are sold today, ensuring that restaurants do good business on this date, pushing up the sales of greeting cards and related merchandize, more importantly I make sure that you don't fall short of saying 'I love you'. There was a time when I wanted you to say it to your lover only, but now I would like you to say this magic three words to your parents, siblings, friends too. That way love will go in different directions, and sales related to my stuff will go only in one direction - up. There is no denying of the fact that festival marketing is nothing new and many non-sales events are also arranged around university campuses like debates on love-before-marriage or love-after-marriage etc. I appreciate all this you do to celebrate the spirit of pure love.

May I also take this opportunity to remind you that this very month also hosts two of your own festivals about which I am very curious about. One is the first day of spring, pahela falgun as you say, and the other is the 21 February, Shaheed Dibosh, also celebrated as the International Mother Language day, supposed to be celebrated all around the world...but I have my doubts. Just wondering if you ever thought of any things special or global related to festivals or days which are truly yours. Have you ever thought if anything exists in these festivals which you can claim to be so truly unique and so viral that you can export this across your borders too? Can you brand the principles of 21 February, the day we celebrate what we speak, how we speak...our that foreigners all around the world also find a good enough reason to have fun on this day? Can you make businesses in Jordan showcase and sell merchandize related to Arabic alphabets, literature, calligraphy, language on this day so that Arabs rejoice the fact that their mother-tongue is Arabic? You atleast need language to express love...I have no problem accepting that from a business sense, your 21 February holds more appeal than the day I own..14 February. Also, I am told that you are the only nation that has laid down supreme sacrifices for your language, I doubt how many outside your small borders know this fact. May be your brand ambassadors and businesses have a responsibility to uphold your heritage. I argue that there is no harm if they make some money out of the process, as long as they are doing it in the spirit of 'accessorizing Bangladeshi patriotism'.

I tell you what...don't listen to what Imam Shaheb is saying, there is nothing Christian about me anymore...I am everybody's. Last time I went to Malaysia and Indonesia during this time of the year and found out that I am everywhere there...from Kuala Lumpur to Jakarta...I could see signs of my love and colors of my everywhere. I don't think their Muslim-ness was so weak that it would be challenged by this one day. Actually they were doing it strictly from a business sales and social festival perspective, rather than any religious one. Businesses were happy, so were the lovers of Indonesia. So you better not worry. But just imagine, your 21 February doesn't carry any background which can be solely tagged to any religion or any controversy. So may be if you put your heads together, you can make non-Bangla speakers around the world celebrate this day, exchange expressions (in writing, saying..through languages) of gratitude, love, thanks etc. So go ahead, brand the day, own the day, accessorize the day. Globalization is supposed to be from your end too, but you need to target the globe for that. Love.

St. Valentine.

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