‘Virgin Tree’ uproar in Delhi University on Valentine’s Day

14 Feb 2019 / 13:47 H.

NEW DELHI: A Valentine’s Day celebration at a university where students worship a “virgin tree” every year has run into trouble with some female students.

While some students are in favour of continuing the yearly tradition of the tree worship, many have objected by saying it is “misogynistic” and “patriarchal”.

Male students of the university had been hosting a puja at the tree, and balloons, colourful ribbons and condoms filled with water would be hung from its branches for decades.

Posters of the latest avatar of the goddess Damdami Mai - generally a top Bollywood actress or a model chosen by the students - would be unveiled in the morning of Valentine’s Day and pinned to the tree.

A male student dressed as a Hindu priest would perform religious rituals, hundreds of students would sing a hymn in praise of the “generally curvaceous goddess”, prasad (food offering made to her) would be distributed among the students who would dance and celebrate, the BBC reported today.

Over the years, a legend has grown that worshipping at the tree would help a student lose his virginity within six months, the report said.

Meanwhile, students who are seeking a ban on the tradition said it represents male desperation, aggression and misogynistic attitude towards women.

“The truth is that it is commemorated to spread awareness about the sexually transmitted disease, HIV and sex education among the students,“ said Ankita Biswas, who is a student.

Some female students held a public discussion to raise objections on the Virgin Tree ceremony saying it objectifies women.

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