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.
Not only do our communities and mohallasÂ 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’,Â 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 -Â “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!