In recent years, many universities campus has become sites for the Kiss of Love protests, against the moral policing by fundamentalist groups. Remember, the announcement by Shiv Sena, that they would marry off couples seen celebrating Valentine’s Day? Or last year when Shiv Sena activists caned couples on Marine Drive in Kochi, and students protested by hugging and kissing each other on the same spot the next day?
Now, the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, visiting the National Institute of Technology in Telangana’s Warangal, said that students should kiss behind doors, and protests like Kiss of Love are against our culture.
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Yesterday, another Minister had upheld Indian culture as a defence when caught urinating in public. Khatesar had said this is part of India’s ‘age-old’ tradition. While we know that some countries allow kissing in public, and some allow pissing in public, and unfortunately, our country falls in the latter category, it is still shameful that the same party has such mixed standards when it comes to public decency.
Naidu said that it is an unhealthy trend for students to kiss in public. But one wonders, how can regimes decide what people should do or not do. As long as someone is not harming anyone else, and is acting within his or her own right, how can fundamentalist players decide to intervene with moral policing?
Our laws have come a far way from medieval times. With laws on Section 497, adultery has been decriminalised. Even gay relationships have been validated by decriminalising Section 377. As the judiciary keeps up with the changing times, even regimes should know that they cannot impose archaic rules on people.
And how is the Kiss of Love protest different from Gandhi’s non-violence? He too had preached that Love and Compassion should be the answer to Violence and Brutality. Only the students are altering the protest a little to fit the modern times. Instead of marching to Dandi, they are kissing on the sea-side.
So, the vigilantes should catch up with the times too. And stop picking up a lathi for what does not concern them.