The annual Damdami Mai celebrations on Valentine’s Day in Delhi University’s Hindu College, where a ‘virgin goddess’ — generally a Bollywood heroine — is glorified — has been hit by the gender sensitisation wave. For the first time ever, a male actor has also been selected for the ceremony so as to slam the allegation that it is a ritual that objectifies women.
Actors John Abraham and Jacqueline Fernandez, who paired up for Race 2, will be worshipped as ‘virgin god and goddess’ this year. “A section of the students’ body felt that if only a female actor is selected, we may be accused of objectifying women. Hence, it’s a couple this time,” says Pratyush Rai, head of the students’ union at the host college.
As per undated tradition, students ironically put up a photograph of a chosen movie celebrity on the ‘virgin tree’ on the Hindu campus and worship it. It is believed that the one who consumes the prasad from the ceremony gets into a relationship and loses his/her virginity soon.
Since it’s a couple this time, do the rituals change? “Not at all! Everything will be done as per the tradition being followed for years now. The only difference being that we will worship a god couple instead of a goddess,” says Rai.
The tree is grandly done up with balloons and, at times, inflated condoms. The ritual kicks off with a panditji putting ‘tilak’ on the foreheads of the devotees. A student is nominated every year to become the pandit, who is usually the winner of the Mr Fresher contest.
Last year, porn star Sunny Leone was Damdami Mai.