Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thoughts about the "Kiss of love" protest

Recently there has been a campaign in India called "The Kiss of Love" that has triggered a mass conversation about the freedom of kissing. In India, you can be arrested if you are an unmarried couple kissing, and it is even frowned upon if you are married and kissing. Basically, there is no kissing in public, whatsoever. But of course, you can whip out your penis and piss anywhere you want, or pull down your pants and crap in someone's doorstep, abuse your wife and legally rape her, punch each other on the road.....but no kissing. Because apparently that's "against Indian culture" all of a sudden.

(Except in the Kama Sutra - written in India, by an Indian, and is an innately sacred Hindu text - there are over 30 types of kissing and was it was recognized as a physical way to express feelings, emotions, and passions....)

Anti-activists have been blaming "Western culture", as usual....of course I am unsure which of the 60+ Western countries they are talking about who clearly have more personal freedom than them. And that's really what it comes down to, I feel - a protest for freedom, and a protest against moral policing. Because really, what's so bad about a kiss? What's so bad about love? What's so bad about uncontrolled love? Is the mere concept of uncontrolled love threatening? A kiss is a sweet, romantic gesture between two consenting adults that is utterly innocent. Personally, I love seeing couples kiss in public. I always think "awwww what a sweet couple" and wish them the best for their lives.

To many conservative Indians, kissing is seen as a vulgarity. They prefer that people do it behind closed doors. They view kissing and even hugging as very sexual, as borderline pornography. Basically, it is a deeply conservative mindset.


This meme, shared by Dr. Subramaniam Swamy, blames public kissing on "Teenage pregnancies, rampant divorces, dysfunctional families, general depression & suicides." As if kissing is something that is not done by 1.252 of the world's biggest population (in India). The difference is the lack of freedom - in the West it is done in public, and in India is shrouded in secrecy in private. Much like many other innocent personal freedoms like: dating before marriage and being openly gay, which are of course not allowed. Publicly, of course. I find it quite funny how people can come to such conclusions about the causes of "depression" since there has been numerous research about the health benefits of kissing. Not to mention, completely rewriting "Indian culture" to suit conservative standards, by pretending the Kama Sutra doesn't exist. Or to say that kissing "is so vulgar", yet every single person does it behind closed doors. What is really vulgar - to me - is the absolute hypocrisy of such statements. 

"The Kiss of Love" started as a peaceful protest, yet in the fall out, the protesters have been arrested, threatened by rape, and the rape of the protesters female relatives. The protesters being consensual adults who dared to have a peck on the lips in public. Again, the threat of rape being used as a means of control and silencing. 

Clearly, there is something a little threatening about young people expressing themselves and exerting their own life choices - which hurt no one - and is nobody's business. If conservative people don't like what two consenting adults are doing, then they can surely look away. Nobody is forcing them to watch or partake in it. Or is that too much to ask? Is it too much to ask that two young people can fall in love and make their own decisions? That young people can be in charge of their own sexuality and whom to love, and not ask 5,783 relatives what to do first.


“The truest test of a democracy is in the ability of anyone to act as he likes, so long as he does not injure the life or property of anyone else.” - Mahatma Gandhi


Follow "The Kiss of Love" campaign HERE.

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24 comments

  1. and that is the reason why young educated girls and guys like me are moving to US, Canada, UK, Australia not only for better career opportunities but also to escape the non-tolerance, hypocritical and conservative mindset of our elders.

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    1. Good for you Sikander (Bandar)! Rats abandon a sinking ship!! ;)

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    2. any sensible sailor knows when to take out the lifeboat and save his life. Please save your sinking ship if you can.

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    3. Of course I will try to save my ship with my sweat, blood and till my last breath! Sometimes I regret that I could not get an opportunity to sacrifice myself to gain 'Swarajya' (Independence from the British). However, I do have a chance to devote myself to bring 'Surajya' (good days) to my motherland! Jai Hind!! :)

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  2. As a foreigner's take on this post I think the first paragraph is pretty offensive. Not to just Indians but to the society in general. I can't believe you are actually comparing kissing to taking a leak in public. The latter is done because of lack of basic etiquette which also happens in many developed countries whereas kissing is an intimate token of love when witnessed by perverts could result in their night fantasy. India is still very conservative and it doesn't surprise me why kissing in public is frowned upon. I am against moral policing and It is nonsensical to use an act of expressing love to protest. Sorry but it makes me think you have written this very heedlessly. I really admire your work but this post makes no sense whatsoever. You failed to highlight what started this event and the consequences of this campaign. I had to go through so many other articles to understand what this post referred to.
    Sarah

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    1. Sorry to burst the little bubble that you are living in, but pissing in public, crapping in public, and assault ARE offensive. Talking about the fact that it happens is not.
      If these conservatives put as much effort into protesting against marital rape, women's rights would actually be a priority in this country.
      There have been countless times where I have seen people peeing in front of a sign that says "no urinating", there have been countless times where I have seen someone's bum on the street. Where were the conservatives then???? If these conservative protesters would actually protest against things like public pissing, then maybe it would become less of a societal norm. And unfortunately, it IS normalized - clearly people would rather protest against the "obscenity" of a peck on the cheek than the REAL obscenity of whipping out a private part and openly relieving themselves. And of course, that is something done by men only!!!!!!! This type of mindset is hypocritical more than it is "conservative".
      FYI several of the posters used by Kiss protesters say "Why is kissing labeled as obscene? And not pissing?" -->http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/If-pissing-is-allowed-in-public-why-not-kissing/articleshow/45024590.cms

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  3. Frankly, this Kiss of Love campaign is not a good idea, not now, not with most of India living in a traditional mindset and at the mercy of political nincompoops. The moral policing has been a HUGE problem for years, I think as long as I have been in India, all of 11 years, but with each passing years it gets worse, and sadly only because the protests against it only bring more fuel to the fire. These lunatics are only after power, and their idea of what Indian culture should be about is already not real at all, it is a know fact they will spit venom at just about anything they can pass as Western evil (true or not). Giving them liberal kissing as a pn act of rebellion against them, is as I said on my own blog, like trying to put out a fire with Kerosene. If India wishes to defeat these terrorists they need to do it playing on the right turf, call out their hypocrisy on Indian culture before thinking of showing Western progressiveness. There are many conservative people who are against moral policing too, but they feel a bit unsettled seeing such blatant display of PDAS because it is new.
    Then not everywhere in the West do people kiss the passionate way some did during these protests. In Switzerland and a good part of Europe the only one kissing that way are infatuated teenagers and they are said to be silly, and people roll their eyes at them, adults usually hug, hold hands and give a quick peck on the lips in public, nothing more.

    Last but not least, the thing to remember about these political outfits, is that their views are so absurd that no one would pay heed to them if they were not retorting to extremist measures, they are not in for the good of Indian culture. the only thing that matter to them is to get votes, and to get votes they need to get the publicity, these violent acts does serve the purpose of getting them what they want : attention. Once India will have understood that naming them in the media, and giving them too much paper space is to be stopped, we will continue seeing them come with one of their latest stint. In 2009 it was beating and molesting women in Pubs in Mangalore, in the name of Ram and Indian culture no less. People protested sending pink underwear to the leader of the outfit. Served no purpose whatsoever, just made a guy who should have stayed in the dark and unknown be in the limelight for weeks and encourage other vigilante groups to rally to the cause and creat more turmoil.

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    1. It really does get worse. This moral policing is at an all-time boiling point and it is absolutely shameful that people will waste their time setting false morals and basically bullying others for things that have nothing to do with them.
      I hate how they automatically blame "The West" for every bloody thing. Like, which West??? Are they talking about North America, South America, Europe, Africa? LOL
      I like to give my husband a quick peck on the lips and I hate having to hold myself back. Sometimes I look at him with so much love, I just feel like showing that innocent affection.
      I absolutely agree that these politicians are just doing it for the sake of extremism and publicity. In a perfect world, the minute they would say something extreme, they would lose credibility and their career would be over. Sigh....a girl can dream...

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    2. Well to be fair they don't have much credibility among the educated lot, but with each stints they get more power over the less educated masses, and those living a precarious life. When you barely get by, have no access to proper food, water, or even a decent wage, it is easy to believe a right wing party that will tell you that India is getting worse because of "western" influence. These people they preach to and win over have no idea what the West means, other that what they see on TV. In these more traditional classes, PDA was already taboo, these right winger can back up their absurdity better with Kiss of Love campaigns. If we want that moral policing to stop, let's nip their power at the bud. Work hard educating those who have no mean to get educated. Bring stability to the marginalised segments of the society, clean water and decent wages, and they will start putting less stock in what that bunch of idiots are preaching. Kissing or sending pink undies will only make the problem worse. Once the population of India is better off, then things like attitude to hugging, kissing and wearing what you want will change effortlessly

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  4. You didn't mention the shiva lingam that is literally a giant penis going into a giant vagina. That's not vulgar.. but kissing is?

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    1. i think you dont know the significance.it means creation of universe in which eternal prakiti and eternal brahman participate simultaneously,where do you find vulgarity here. if you dont under stand something please dont comment on it.you are actually insulting Hinduism.

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    2. Um, I do understand the significance. That was one of the first things I learned when I started dating my boyfriend who is a Telugu Brahmin. I was simply commenting on the hypocrisy of the people saying that kissing is vulgar, but then there are many more things in Indian culture (karma sutra, ancient wall carvings of sex, etc) that you'd think would be considered more 'vulgar' by these people's standards but isn't. I respect Hinduism, and am continuing to learn more everyday out of curiosity and interest of my love's culture. Maybe you shouldn't comment if you don't understand what I meant. You are actually insulting me.

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    3. Exactly @Plaid Peacoat.... Shiva Lingam is not looked at as bad, it is seen as beautiful & spiritual...."The union of lingam and yoni represents the "indivisible two-in-oneness of male and female, the passive space and active time from which all life originates".....yet kissing is bad LOL?!?! Creation itself starts with a kiss, whether people want to admit it or not! ;)

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    4. ;) Maybe there should be a shrine of two pairs of lips kissing? That would be *gasp* shocking! Quick! Blame the west! Lol

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  5. @alexendra

    This kind of half baked attempts at awareness are counter productive. They reinforce stereotypes of western cultures that people already have
    In india girls fight their traditional parents to continue their studies. People take their girls our of school or college because of eve teasing on the way or lack of toilets in schools. Any excuse will do to discontinue girl's education. The parents need reassurance that the girls will concentrate on studies and not anything else. This pressure is on boys as well but india being india girls have more questions to answer. Work on women health, toilets, education something that really makes a difference to the life of women rather than these misguided immature attempts.

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    1. True...there is so much backlash against this movement that it has almost become counter-productive. It has become a game of blame the West.
      You know, in our city of Hyderabad, we have this area of town called Hi Tech City where all the MNCs are. They recently put public toilets out there to help relieve people, except they were only for men!!! Unbelievable....if women are not able to use the bathroom they can give themselves bladder infections and can get very very sick.

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    2. Live in my country on our terms..otherwise...simple leave it...atleast i wont accept any word of criticism from a foreigner..

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    3. @ankit - oh piss off. If you want to blindly follow everything in your country then it only shows your own lack of depth. Only dead fish follow the stream. And yes I can criticise and love India at the same time - sorry that your small brain can't understand that complexity. I do the same for the US and Canada, why are you only offended? A bit sensitive, are we?

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  6. 100 years back killing women in the name of SATI ...its our culture
    100 years back killing inncocents in the name of caste ...its our culture
    300 years some part of women restricted to cover there breast thats our culture
    1000 years back we carved rocks with sexy poses to educate kamasutra thats our culture
    2000 years back we have culture
    10000 years back also we have our culture
    ....
    Still piss in public thats our culture
    Caste dynasty is our culture
    Raping women is our culture
    Harasshing lovers and passing comments its our culture
    Watching porn videos in assembly is our culture
    Indicating others fault is our culture
    We have so many cultures

    But i think kissing in public is against our culture because we have rich cultural heritage :P

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    1. sati was not practiced in entire india .it was only practiced in eastern india and it was practiced during 18th century first half.no where in hindu scriptures it was even mentioned.actually to be true hindu scriptures were actually against the practice of sati.thats why it was not practiced in entire india.if you were a hindu you would have known the fact.actually hinduism is the only religion that has given women the right to take over his husbands entire property after her husbands death.and she was even given the rights to get married after her husbands death if she likes by hindu scriptures. sati was invented by men to stop the transferring of family property to someone outside the family.it was banned by ram mohan roy, a pious hindu after he found out that it was against hinduism.


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  7. The Kiss campaign is a great move to end this intolerance towards love and invasion of privacy. It is also a great move to bring back our original vedic culture and remove the Victorian and Mughal conservatism. Kudos to the organisers. Hope they keep going with it and change the conservative mindsets that are poisoning our country.
    - Mohammed

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  8. I saw that meme before, which I found very surprising... In Europe, youngster are promoting free hugs, impagine that happening in India ! :) (Padparadscha)

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    1. And hey, what about Amma? I think she is against "Indian culture" :D
      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/womens-life/10401725/Meet-the-woman-whos-hugged-33-million-people-and-me.html

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