Nasreen Khan

Students in the city are gearing up to celebrate what they call Kolkata’s answer to Valentines’ Day, Rose Day and Friendship Day. On September 21, the day his body was found near Patipukur railway station, students from across the city will exchange rakhis, renewing a trend started by Rabindarnath Tagore. The poet had started a trend where even lovers tied rakhi to each other on the day of rakhi. This predominantly North India festival is celebrated with the same fervour at Shantiniketan even today and lovers tie rakhis of a particular shade of blue on each other’s wrist.
Interestingly, the choice of the date has been dictated by Rizwanur Rahman who the students see as an epitome of true love. These students want to remember Rizwanur and dedicate the day on which he died to love. They want to bring out the true essence of love that has got lost in the commercial excess that is witnessed in the name of Valentines’ Day, Rose Day and Friendship Day.
This unique ode to love has already gathered a huge number of supporters cutting across all political, social and religious lines. Besides tying of rakhis, the students will also hold a gathering in the evening at the Nandan premises. Among various cultural activities planned is poetry reading session as well as songs, all on the theme of love. This group of youngsters has people from different walks of life on board as well and is hoping that the news will travel by word-of-mouth and more supporters will join them on the day of the event itself.
“Rizwanur’s death was lapped up by politicians to use against the ruling party. Even his family, particularly his brother used it for his own selfish reasons. The poor guy was forgotten. We want to revive his memory and pay our tribute because he loved a girl truly and genuinely and he dared to go against his social and religious limitations. The poor fellow lost his life but nobody is bothered about why and because of whom. His only fault was he loved a rich girl from a different community. We think he is an apt symbol of love. We want to keep Rizwanur’s memory alive and that is why we chose this date to celebrate as a day of harmony and love,” said one of the students, refusing to be named for fear of reprisal.