Author – Anuka Roy
‘Kiss of love’… hope you have already been bombarded about this protest that made our country debate about our ancient ‘Indian culture’. It all began when a Malayalam TV news channel showed a couple kissing and hugging each other in the parking space of a café in Kozhikode. It was shown as an exclusive news report on the alleged immoral activity in the café. Soon, the café was vandalised by Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of BJP.
This vandalism was one of the many moral policing acts witnessed in our country over the recent years. This led to a protest initiated through a Facebook page named ‘Kiss of love’, which got huge support among youngsters across the country. Kochi was the first place where activists gathered peacefully to protest. However, the protesters were arrested by the Kerala police claiming they actually saved their lives from the rival protesters. Soon, other cities have joined in organising their own Kiss of love protests.
When these news reports along with pictures of couples kissing in public were flashed on prime time news, I could clearly see the discomfort on my parents’ faces. My mother asked my opinion on this issue, and I stated my support for the cause that these youngsters are protesting against moral policing and if the chosen method is kissing in public, then I am okay with it. Clearly, she wasn’t happy with my answer!
Personally, even I am not comfortable in displaying my emotions so publicly, but it’s high time that these self-appointed moral policemen be given a befitting answer. These culture vultures argue that it is against Indian culture to kiss in public and show Public Display of Affection (PDA). Really? Who decides what is in favour of Indian culture? Most importantly, what is Indian culture?
The Supreme Court in response to a petition filed by Richard Gere made it clear a case cannot be filed against two consenting adults hugging and kissing in public place. In 2007, Richard Gere had kissed Shilpa Shetty on her cheeks during an AIDS awareness programme. Kissing and hugging are both natural human emotions; they have nothing to do with a country’s culture. If our extremist culture protectors are so concerned about the country’s culture getting affected by PDA, then what about the rape cases and other heinous crimes that are on the rise in our country? Aren’t they affecting our country’s culture?
What was so exclusive about a young couple kissing that a news channel had to report and the youth wing of a national political party had to vandalize a café? I don’t how much of this kissing in public as a protest against moral policing will work, but these unwanted moral policing acts need to be prevented. If they really want our country to be culturally rich, instead of making a non-issue a national issue, they should address the burning issues that are of greater concern!