This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Jigna Kotecha. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Why The ‘Kiss Of Love’ Isn’t Enough: The Saffron Threat That We Must Continue To Fight Back

More from Jigna Kotecha

By Jigna Kotecha:

Air is thick with calumny in India. Right-wing monomaniacs are working overtime to wave their saffron flags against ‘Kiss of Love’ protest that started from Kochi in Kerala and later spread in other parts of India.

kiss of love kolkata

Kiss of Love, a non-violent movement, began on November 2 against moral policing. Moral brigade of ostensibly leaderless religious fundamentalists of Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, SDPI, Vishva Hindu Parishad, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Hindu Sena and Ernakulam wing of Kerala Students Union started beating students to safeguard “Hindu culture”. These are the same right-wingers who proudly demand dowry, blame women for rape and foment public opinion based on ill-founded facts about “Hinduism”.

Both the Supreme Court of India and Delhi High Court have made it clear that kissing in public is not an obscene act and no criminal proceedings can be initiated for kissing in public. While these landmark judgments failed to rattle the “conservative” ideas of right-wing fanatics, urban youngsters continue to kiss, hug and hold hands in public to challenge these moral guardians.

But, why do we Indians need to organise ‘Kiss of Love’ to express love and affection? Time and again, Indians are pushed to prove the existence of certain freedoms and rights that every democratic country gives to its people. While history gives an evidence of liberal Indians, recent turn of events show Indians losing their grip on freedom. Every step we take towards progress is decimated by slave drivers of unproven mythological beliefs.

When is this colonial hangover going to end? Is making moral judgments enough to restore our faith on Nationalism? Is censoring nudity, banning ‘tamasic’ food in IITs, making needless insinuations about virginity, supporting mass genocide in the name of faith, lobbying against sex education in schools or moral policing going to save mankind from say, armed conflict, Ebola, climate change, poverty, hunger or terrorism? Freedom bound by dogma is no freedom at all.

Why are we still not allowed to make humanistic decisions, based on science and reason and not religion and belief? Why are we scared of progressive transition? Are we not suffocated by the bigotry of low expectations from the human race? Dogma in any form is lethal!

We should understand how busy the conservators of Indian “sanskar” are. They must have forgotten to read the history of kissing before subjecting us to virulent harangue.

According to Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist at Texas A&M University who researched the history of the kiss says that the earliest kissing references were found in India. Around 3,500 years ago, they describe the custom of rubbing and pressing noses together. About 500 years later, the epic poem Mahabharata contained references of lip kissing, which are referred as “history’s first recognizable descriptions of romantic kissing”. The historic reference continues with the Kama Sutra, a classic text on erotica, believed to be written somewhere between 400 BCE and 200 CE, where descriptions of kissing techniques abound.

Now, kissing is of course a personal act of affection inside someone’s personal sphere. When in public, we cannot abandon our personal freedom of expression and behave differently. Public morality has always been iat odds with freedom of expression. However, public morality is dynamic. It highly depends on degree of acceptance a society offers. For example, public kissing is allowed in US but nudity is banned. Many are comfortable with kissing in public, some are not. And, it is their personal choice. It’s all about tolerance, mutual respect and the principle of ‘live and let live’. But it is fascism to forcefully impose a code of conduct on people based on personal discomfort.

Women are uncomfortable with chauvinism, eve-teasing, harassment and voyeurism. Is the saffron brigade concerned? No! They threaten, slander and beat in public. It is patriarchy claiming territory in public space. Like Amartya Sen wrote in his book ‘The Idea of Justice’, “The notion of human right builds on our shared humanity. These rights are not derived from the citizenship of any country, or the membership of any nation, but are presumed to be claims or entitlements of every human being. They differ, therefore, from constitutionally created rights guaranteed for specific people.”

If we are comfortable with demagogue politicians fomenting discontent among masses every election then why not kissing in public?

Why are the right-wing busybodies constantly monitoring freedom of women and the LGBT? Because they want to curb our personal freedom. We are living under the constant threat of these fascist groups who are engineering caste atrocities, communal violence, gender discrimination, wage disparities etc to savagely suppress our rights.

If these people are allowed to curb our personal freedom in one sphere, then it is soon bound to spill over in an even more virulent fashion into other spheres. The examples are aplenty – Shiv Sena promising Rs 21,000 reward to those Hindu families having more than 10 children to keep majority status intact; RSS ideologue Dinanath Batra trying to recast India’s history from a Hindu perspective or Yogi Adityanath asking supporters to convert 100 Muslim women through marriage, every time a Muslim man marries a Hindu. He also claims that religious riots happen wherever more than 10 per cent of the population is Muslim.

So, it is important not to be abstract in our extrapolations, and react more strongly to everything that is threatening our freedom. The death of bigotry will only come through non-compliance. If we fail to resist, the dominant culture would consume and murder our freedom.

You must be to comment.
  1. Green Lantern

    Get a room.

    1. D Gill

      Look away.

    2. randomguy

      Yeah, also do that when people fuck in front of your face.

    3. S

      Who is ‘fucking’ here?

  2. Dark Knight

    Please note that kissing is not banned in the US and to let you know, the Kamasutra was not practiced in public spaces. Good day.

  3. Jigsaw

    Clearly knowing that PDAs hurt Indian sentiments, you continue to unabashedly write in its favour using Kamasutra as an example, aware that it was not practiced in public spheres.

    Will you come face to face with reality and accept that PDAs are a menace or will you continue to support it, in your vain pursuit of imitating westerners in the name of freedom.

    The choice is yours.

    1. AK

      Your icon ‘Jigsaw’ is an English word. So are you also imitating? And why don’t you write in Sanskrit instead of a Western import like English?

    2. arjun

      Wrong logic, language is part of identity and identity is very important at international stage. language is not commodity like mobile phone which you can buy from other country and use it and move to other thing. It is like saying a Japanese to not use Japanese language. because indian have this type of thinking, no wonder india produces only cheap labor and love anything foreign good causing harm to economy.

      already the obsession of English has created two classes in india, one who can speak English and another who can not, we have problem communicating with people of our own country due to foreign obsession. this elite English class has pushed a large portion of people out of mainstream, since people who dont know English cant use computer or internet properly.

      outsiders understand the use of local languages more than English speaking slaves of India, that is why today we can even use Facebook and Mobile phone in Hindi. Japan recently celebrated 50 yrs of bullet train and the local Japanese who have not able to take a ride on it if all the symbols had been in English.

    3. S

      Indian sentiments needs to loosen up to avoid getting hurt so easily. Then PDA would stop being a menace.

  4. The Joker

    The term “eve-teasing” does not exist in the English dictionary. You need English lessons.

  5. Surabhi Singh

    Dear Evangelicals n so called Bharatiya Youths,

    first of all please READ the article AGAIN. no where has the author written that kamasutra was practiced in public or that Public kissing is banned in the US. Secondly, if a man can get away with displaying his penis in public like hundred times a week, either to pee or to “woo” girls; then why PDA should hurt anyone in India? Its really time we stopped conning ourselves in the name of “culture”.. a nation that breeds slavery and exports one of the world’s largest number of child sex slaves.. c’mon u talk about public kissing being a taboo.. really? Open your eyes while there is still time.

    1. Green Lantern

      One bad deed should not beget another.

    2. randomguy

      “if a man can get away with displaying his penis in public like hundred times a week, either to pee or to ‘woo’ girls, then why PDA should hurt anyone in India?” By that logic one can say, if a man can get away with rape, why should molesters be punished? Crime happens in every society, doesn’t mean it makes lesser wrong right or justifiable. If you want to support this stupid public kissing campaign, at least give better arguments.
      “first of all please READ the article AGAIN. no where has the author written that kamasutra was practiced in public or that Public kissing is banned in the US. ” Then what is the point of mentioning this? That kissing existing in India? Everyone knew that, even the right wingers don’t object to kissing privately, the problem is only when you do it in public place. Seems the author is just as stupid as you.

  6. Ra’s al Ghul

    Opening of your sixth paragraph belittles religion, automatically assuming that everyone has fallen prey to atheism. Religion is the biggest hurdle and hindrance in the path of immorality and injustice. Moreover, freedom in itself is not automatically a good thing, as freedom can be used to do good or bad. I hope you don’t ask for your freedom and right to have sex in public, because you obviously don’t know that there is a difference between humans and animals.

  7. Arjun

    > The Saffron Threat

    Hilarious 😀

    1. S

      Nothing hilarious about it. It is scary in fact. Ask the people who have been manhandled by saffron brigade. Ask the ones whose freedom has been limited. Also check with the ones who are now living in anticipation of basic freedom of expression/living curtailed.

  8. randomguy

    Utter garbage vomited by an idiot. “According to Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist….
    … code of conduct on people based on personal discomfort. ” Please someone re-read these two paras and explain what point is he trying to make here. Looks like some school kid writing just for the sake of writing an article.

  9. Nitin

    I want to support but am a loner and dont want to kiss dudes fucccccccccccccccccccccccccc

  10. Youth ki Awaaz(The REal YOung Blood with real sense)

    aaj kiss karoge,kal kapde utar ke ghumoge,parso road par sex karte nazar aaoge……….aur agar koi roke to use kahoge ki tumse aurton ki freedom nhi dekhi jaati,humein humare rights chahiye,tum right wing wale ho…….

    jo log Pda ke paksh mein hain unse keval ek sawaal…….agar kiss,sex etc. ko tum itna hi publicise karte ho to fir jaanwar aur insaano mein kya fark reh jaayega??

  11. Shrihari Kulkarni

    Love is divine. Please spread this movement across the world that includes Pakistan, gulf countries, North Korea …where in LOVE does not exist.

  12. Aditya Malpani

    The cause of concern is the right to kiss..but not the child marriage which was recently approved by the high court..thats perfectly secular

More from Jigna Kotecha

Similar Posts

By Divya Chopra

By Apurv Raj

By Sadan Khan

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below