New Delhi: This Valentine’s Day, students from many private schools in Surat, Gujarat, would be taking the pledge to not marry without their parents’ consent. (Also read: Bajrang Dal Opposes Valentine’s Day)Also Read - Rajasthan Imposes Fresh COVID Curbs; Jaipur Schools Closed Till Class 8 From Jan 3-9. Details Here

According to media reports, over 10,000 students are likely to participate in the exercise, the idea for which was mooted by city-based laughter therapist Kamlesh Masalawala. Masalawala also runs ‘Laughter club, Crying club’ in Surat and is associated with several educational institutions in the city. Also Read - 13 School Students in Himachal’s Bilaspur District Test COVID Positive, Undergoing Treatment

Speaking to a leading daily, Masalawala said, “I got the idea while counselling youths. They would come to me with problems like their parents are against them marrying the person they love. I am not against the love affair… but I explain the importance of family and of the devotion they should have for their parents. The parents will compromise and agree to their match but they would get hurt in the process.” Also Read - In Maharashtra School, 19 Students Found COVID Positive, 450 Being Tested

Meanwhile, as part of the ceremony, on Thursday, students will recite a poem written by city-based child psychiatrist Dr Mukul Choksi.

The poem by Choksi, also a poet, says, “Jeevan Naamna Prabhu e apela uphar ne prem karishu, Keval premijan ne nahi, aakha pariwar ne prem karishu, Shani, ravi jemaj Som thi Shukrawar ne prem karishu, sikshan naamna jeevan na sacha adhar ne prem karishu, Ekaj Janne shane mate? ek hajaar ne prem karishu, Shala college, teacher, vali, salahkar ne prem karishu, Valentine ne Vasantpanchmina aa tehvar ne prem karishu, pan pehla, Maa Baap-e apela sanskar ne prem karishu (We will love this gift of life given by God, not just our lover, we shall love the whole family. We shall love Mondays to Fridays just as we do Saturdays and Sundays, We shall love education which is the essence of life, Why only one, we shall love a thousand, we shall love our school, college, teachers, guardian and counsellor, We shall love the festivals of Valentine’s (Day) and Vasant panchmi, but first we shall love the virtues instilled by our parents).”

Masalawala says that his idea was lapped up by various schools. “Twenty schools have confirmed their participation. The ceremony will be held as per school timings in the school premises. The school authorities will make videos of the event which they will hand over to us. We will organise a programme to felicitate school trustees and principals. We are hoping that over 10,000 students will take oath on Valentine’s Day.”

Participating students have been asked to memorise the poem. “I have proposed that students aged 17 and above should participate in the event but it is not compulsory,” Masalawala added.

A youth-centric NGO is also collaborating with Masalawala. Vikash Doshi, who runs the NGO said, “Kamlesh Masalawala has been associated with our organisation. When he shared his idea, we decided to support him. The motive is to generate awareness. It is up to the students to follow it in the future.”