Monday, 24 November 2014

Kiss And Tell

Protesters in Delhi celebrate love. Picture - Youth Ki Awaaz

Welcome to India, the hotbed of ridiculous controversies. The latest to hit the streets is a protest against moral policing, that originated in Kochi and rapidly spread to other parts of the country - including Bangalore, Delhi and Kolkata. The protest, being called the "Kiss of Love Campaign", was sparked off when members of the youth wing of the BJP reportedly vandalised a cafe in Kochi, following reports of a young couple engaging in kissing and hugging at that place.

Why #KissofLove?

The most obvious question to any practical person would be why the youth of the nation chooses to provide so much importance to a seemingly frivolous issue. Notwithstanding the opposition of the RSS and the ABVP, the number of participants in the protest continues to increase. The message from the participants is simple - the kiss is symbolic of the freedom to love, breaking the barriers set up by orthodox mindsets. The freedom to love, in turn, is representative of a broader outlook from the young generation.

Is #KissofLove a violation of privacy?

The operative word here is "Choice". If a couple choose to display affection in public, it can never be construed as a violation of privacy. Neither can it be said to have a negative impact on the public, as certain religious and political groups claim. If you feel embarrassed about watching couples kiss in public, you can always turn your eyes away! Also, it is vital to note that a child is far more likely to be scarred watching Mum and Dad fight than kiss.

#KissOfLove campaign in Kolkata

Has the movement been successful?

The #KissofLove is an ongoing protest. While the idea behind the campaign is sound, the manner of execution has repeatedly been called into question. The exuberance of youth often seems to take over in demonstrations of kissing in public. The occasions turned to a show for the cameras - "A fun thing for most" as a JU student put it. However, the protest against moral policing is justified, and in fact necessary. Protests in other parts of the country have been successfully carried out in solidarity, and in the spirit of love. In a society where lovers are jailed, and communal hatred walks away scot-free, there is a need to resist, and resist through love.

If you are cringing at the very thought of people displaying affection in public, please bear in mind that there is no such thing as an "Indian culture" which condemns it. Seen the works of art at Khajuraho? Read that wonderful book on gymnastics called the "Kama Sutra"? There, you have your answer.

An article on  carries these very powerful lines: "Let us remember that the Talibans found it obscene/immoral for Malala to go to school. The khaps find it obscene for girls to have mobile phones. The ABVP finds love itself obscene, and therefore protests against Valentine's Day. If we allow fundamentalist outfits to decide our "morality", they will clap women in chains."

Jadavpur University joins in on the #KissofLove campaign.

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