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“Why We Are Resisting With The ‘Kiss Of Love’: A Note For The Confused”

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By Pranjal Rawat:

The Kiss of Love Events are not kiss-fests, neither do they make for a space where ‘loose’ people, particularly ‘loose’ women are up for grabs. We come down to the streets, in love, and in the spirit of solidarity, as students, scholars, teachers and everyday people; because most of us know the difficulties of loving someone in the Indian society. When lovers are jailed, and communal hatred goes scot-free, one must resist, and one must resist through love.

kiss of love kolkata

Not only do our communities and mohallas find it disturbing that two consenting and responsible adults can make love and fall in love, without the prior ‘permission’ of what is known as ‘Indian culture’, but also, in Indian society, where one finds patriarchy and misogyny entrenched deeply, we struggle to say anything when our lovers and our friends receive lewd looks, lusty gazes and hurtful gestures in public spaces. We also find it hard to protect our loved ones from harassment and mental trauma that is inflicted upon them by a culture of rape and commodification. We are helpless, when people look upon us in reproach, when we hold our lovers’ hands, or hold them around the waist in public.

In this video, a protester who attended it in Kochi explains what went down.

In a country where shameless narcissistic turds like Robert Vadra enjoy VIP culture, where corporations cut deals with the politicians and roll in profits made from scams, I ask, what crime is it to love someone without fear and victimisation? When we can ape the West in the entire economic model, where investers are boot-licked; and when our society lusts after ‘item songs’, why cannot we be allowed to choose our partners, and the capacity in which our relationships exist? Where are the so called free-market libertarians now? Dont they believe in free choices?

I refuse to believe that ‘Hindu culture’ means beating up people in bars and parks. Ask yourself, can the great epics of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, that sparkled our imagination when we were young, be part of the same ideology that espouses such horrific cultural subversion and hegemony? For those who don’t know, Ambedkar himself had said to a group of Dalit villagers, that Hindu philosophy in its most earnest form, has for all of us, the capacity for empathy and respect, but it is the power-hunger motives and the perverse ideals of certain hindu fundamentalist groups that maintains and pushes forward a culture of hate and misogyny. For further proof, do notice the scriptures in some of the Hindu temples. Many of the characters seem to be making love, and not just with one partner.

Prof. Noam Chomsky, who has spent his life on the study of linguistics, says that there is an innate ability in human nature that allows all of us to be creative, respond to others, and yearn to form free associations. Loving someone gives us strong bonds of faith and trust, and is essential for our living. Rich or poor, Hindu or Muslim, strong or weak; we cannot live without our loved ones.

Here, I would like to add a small quote that was put up on Facebook by the protesters in Kochi - “You can cut all the flowers, but you cannot stop the spring”.

And so the spring shall come, and as Chomsky says, the innate ability of human nature to create, to love, and to form free associations, will always form resistance to subversive, hegemonic, xenophobic and fascist tendencies; be they from the Left or from the Right, from atheists or from religious fundamentalists, from fools or from cunning hyenas!

Also read: I Organized ‘Kiss Of Love’ In IIT Mumbai, And Here’s Why I Support It

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  1. Anon

    Call me cynical but Alas! There goes another failed attempt to redefine the so called INDIAN culture! I appreciate the enthusiasm and emotional outflow shown by people! But it’s about time we realize that all this pomp and show makes no sense when at the roots of our hearts and minds, majority are fundamentalists! The perfect irony is that we celebrate the existence of a government that bases itself on fundamentalism! Demonstration as these are means of amusement and false motivation for people! Stupid in fact, when no one has the urge to actually make a difference but are out there to demonstrate their vocational skills to the camera! The youth should actually stop basking in a virtual pride of their youthful energy and grow out of these childish aspects to actually make a difference! The only real aspect in the video was the French Woman talking, everything else was clearly fake!

    1. Indian

      Don’t be cynical my friend. We should not lose the “real” Indian values and should not blindly follow the west. Let’s make India the best in the next 20 years.

    2. Pranjal

      By fake, you mean, an imposter?

      No sir, we clearly are have our hearts in place. You might then proceed to call us foolish, that is an argument that we can then debate on.

      You see, the banality of your ideas, emerges when it becomes clear that you simply have no clue as to what the students also do in other movements. We have been opposing hindu fundamentalists in many forms, cultural subversion, and the persistence of hegemony. You simply assume that none of us, have really challenged Hindu fascists on other planes.

      And even this. The Kiss of Love, must be taken as a rejection of what hindu fundamentalists would call- Indian Culture. We aim at deep rooted stigmas, in Indian society that come to light, in the wake of moral policing of lovers.

      And please, the Political Left is busy scavenging itself, while we are marching, city to city, ideas in constant movement. So, get a little perspective on this, no?

  2. Ashwin

    The whole ‘Kiss of love episode’ is a start for the for something positive.But it should be careful in not spreading the wrong notions of obscenity,Immorality,disrespect to tivorche culture of India.
    Everyone has the right to love and show their love to others.At the same time the youth should also adhere to their family traditions . It should be kept in mind that the so called family traditions and cultural morality is the only reason why our family hierarchy is still standing strong.
    Taking examples of western countries such as Holland,Germany,Czech Republic,etc
    lack of moral behaviour has lead to high number of divorce rates,cheating within marriage,as well as people not getting married and having a family.This has been the reason why countries such as these are facing to uphold their identity and population.The people above the age of 50 are more in number to the people below 30 in many of the countries stated above.
    Hence it should be noted that the activists who have started this positive initiative of stopping harsh moral policing techniques should try to give the right message of the right to love rather than the right to obscenity,or right to freedom from family and religious traditions and rules.

    1. Indian

      Well said.

  3. Babar

    The title of the article itself is self-righteous, calling anyone who does not agree with the lewd ideology ‘confused’, while the entire article reeks of promiscuity and a holier-than-thou attitude. STDs are on the rise due to promotion of transient sexual relationships, because confinement of sexual activities to the privacy of the bedroom come with tags of being ‘backward’, ‘regressive’, and belonging to the ‘stone age’. Kissing in public is the liberation that is being sold here. Just as women are sold miniskirts, short shorts, spandex pants, backless dresses, skimpy tops, etc, in the name of liberation. Women are naive and gullible in nature. They bought Torches of Freedom. They will buy this too.

    1. Indian

      Well said. There is too much of feminism going on around that we as a society are losing things and stupidly, blindly, sillyly and dangerously following the west. We should liberate women, but not like this.

    2. Pranjal

      Your words are poetic, yet, your assertions without ground.

      This article, was to clarify to many youngsters, what this movement really meant. Hence you accusations of “self-righteous” and “calling anyone who does not agree with the lewd ideology ‘confused’ ” goes out of the window. It certainly is not aimed at hardend right wingers, it is for a more depoliticised mass.

      Can you show me any hard empirical data to back your claim of STDs, and link their rise, to transient sexual relationships and not other causes like the fact that contraceptive usage is not very widespread in India.

      Nothing is being sold out here, unlike, the commodification of many aspects of life, we aim at retaining critical thinking and practices in people. I appears, that it is more reasonable to say, that you are selling your rhetoric here, without many takers.

      Your chauvinism is revealed with ‘Women are naive’.

      Yep, one can be as bigoted with even a good vocabulary, and one can puncture the foolish rhetoric of mediocre critiques, without.

    3. anurag

      So STDs will rise just because people choose to kiss in public, instead of in a private place? “Women are naive”…. you sir, are a unique kind of an ass-hole, and would resort to any sort of nonsensical logic to stick to your brand of chauvinism and prudery.

  4. Rohit

    First of all its Ramayan and Mahabharat, not Ramayana and Mahabharata. Secondly i think its ok to hold hands in public, or take selfie. But kissing or smooching in a public place should be strictly prohibited. Just because this Happens in the west, doesnt mean even we should follow it.

    1. Indian

      It is indeed Ramayana and Mahabharata. That’s what we say in Kannada. Anyway, I agree that it is fine to hold hands while walking etc., but don’t go over board in kissing and having s*x in public. Those things can happen in private. Depicting such pictures outside olden temples, means you have freedom to enjoy with mutually agreeing partners, but it does not mean that we do all of that in public.

  5. Srishti

    I actually disagree. Every country, region and community has it’s own idea of what behaviour is appropriate in public. It differs from Indonesia to Eqypt to Netherlands to the U.S.In every country what can be expressed in public and the degree of physical intimacy differs. In the west in certain places everything except removing your clothes is permissible, in other places it isn’t. People can be booked for indecent behaviour in cars and parks as well but notions of what constitutes appropriate behaviour vary. Adopting the ‘kissing is Ok, kissing is not sex’ is an explicit adoption of the western, specifically the US model of public behaviour appropriateness. If you’re going to respect a certain code of public conduct everywhere else doing it in your own country isn’t too much to ask.

  6. Jithin

    I love the idea of Kiss of Love.However,I hate how the guy in the video pointed out only the bad things which are happening to women.Feminazi?I don’t know for sure but my view is that men should be cared more for the reason being they are utilized more yet the news does not highlight what is happening to men.This should change.

  7. pravi013

    Hilarious fact is that ” Smoking in public places is a punishable offence by law but allowed and tolerated by society while kissing in public is not an offence by law but vehemently opposed by same so called society”live and let live ……

  8. abhineet

    Please stop associating both your protest and these people against you to indian culture. Indian culture is grand enough for kissing in public or some crowd against it to be an effect. This culture that you are against of people mostly bourgeois who are living in fear and failure for they have never got to execute their absolute wishes and world who submitted to set hierarchy taught these to give up their dreams. These against who point of view you protest are youngsters of an india of yesterday. Please include a picture of india of yesterday when religion and so called picture of culture were used as axioms to control hoards of people moaning under mass helplessness, telling then this is what their destiny is. Your kiss of love protest must not be oblivious of why the past generations are against you because artists even then in ’40s, ’50s, ’60s constantly urged to allow the human to express himself freely.

  9. pankaj

    Today it’s kiss in street,tomorrow its s*x in street.Oh what has happened to india!?

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