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What I Saw At The Kiss Of Love Protest in Delhi, The True Story

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By Dyuti Jha:

Delhi, on 8th November, witnessed a flood of around 400 young people on the streets, who gathered to reclaim their social space, to assert their right to live and love against the moral fascism of the right wing fundamentalists. The ‘Kiss of Love’, that started in Kochi on 2nd of November and reached the capital on Saturday after it’s Mumbai and Kolkata chapters. The venue of the event was outside Jhandewalan Metro Station, just a stone’s throw away from the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Headquarters. People gathered there in large numbers – clapping, chanting slogans like “Jo tum na doge azaadi, hum choom ke lenge azaadi!”, singing to the tunes of “Jab pyaar kiya toh darrna kya”, hugging and kissing the people they love, right in the face of the self proclaimed guardians of Indian ‘Culture’, and the Delhi Police. The event was a great success despite the efforts of RSS supporters and the police to disrupt it.

Picture Credits: Aami Sayan
Picture Credits: Aami Sayan

The right wing moral fascists tried to prevent the event from happening right since the beginning, when it was being planned. The event page on Facebook, where the information about the event was being conveyed, was flooded with all sorts of hate-spewing bizarre posts by staunch right wing fundamentalists. All of them were very disturbing. A lot of them openly threatened to beat us to pulp if we continued. One of those posts read, “Aao, aao, dande aur talwaron se swagat karenge tumhara.” (“Come, come, we’ll welcome you with sticks and swords”). Some other went like, “Why don’t you bring your mothers and sisters to the protest. We will take kisses (sic) from them too.” And “Why are you just kissing on street? Start having sexual intercourse in public too.” Pankhuri, whose number was provided there on the page for coordination, had to stop taking calls because threatening calls and messages started pouring in. She finally had to remove the number, but it was of no use. Her phone is still being flooded with them. Other organizers and the potential participants were also threatened via Facebook messages. But these efforts did not affect the spirit of the fellow protesters.

When I reached the venue at around 4.20 PM, the street in front of Jhandewalan Metro Station was flooded with 150 to 200 people who were chanting slogans and singing songs, surrounded by a bunch of RSS supporters who were trying to counter the protest with placards that had pictures of a kissing couple with “Kiss of Love Hindustan mein nahin chalega” written on it. The police was trying to prevent the protesters from public displays of affection as well. As soon as the first couple kissed, the RSS workers charged towards them and manhandled a few fellow protestors. A middle aged RSS worker was seen running after the female protesters shouting shamelessly that he wanted to kiss them. The Police, in the meanwhile, shut gate no 2 of Jhandewalan Metro Station to prevent more people from joining in. My friends, Sakshi Upadhyay and Tanaya Khan Jha, got out of the station through Gate no 1 and were stopped from reaching the venue by some 5-6 RSS workers who surrounded them and tried to harass them while they were walking towards Gate no 2. They saw a man being beaten up by the RSS people while the Police stood there without doing anything.

The Police didn’t let us go till Keshav Puram, where the office is located, but that did not dampen the spirit of the protestors. We marched with much vigour, raising slogans and singing songs, for around 2 kilometers, and made a human chain with almost 300 people blocking traffic at the signal on Desh Bandhu Gupta Road. The onlookers were curious and many of them joined us after knowing the cause of the protest. We were soon stopped by a group of around 50 RSS workers, and a brief scuffle followed. The police arrested a few people who were released soon after. Pankhuri, one of the organizers, once again addressed a crowd of around 400 people sitting on road about the motive of the protest and the struggle of reclaiming the social space that has been intruded by moral fascists, and concluded the event.

Picture Credits: Aami Sayan
Picture Credits: Aami Sayan

The reactions that followed were as interesting as the event itself. As soon as the photos from the event started flooding social media, there was a new wave of hate speech by the fundamentalists. I would like to share my personal experience here. I kissed a female friend of mine on her lips, and that photo went viral. This picture was posted on the Facebook page of Outlook India as the cover photo. The comment threads are bizarre and disturbing. “These are the girls who act like these and then get raped and cry”, “They should be paraded naked and hanged so that no one has guts to do these” are a few of the many others. A few were hilarious as well. Someone called me “A bindi sporting lesbian” in one of the comments. My inbox was flooded with messages from the fundamentalists calling me all sorts of names and issuing threats to me, my friends and family. I had to deactivate my Facebook account due to this nuisance. The same has been in the case of the friend I kissed.

But hate is not the only kind of reaction we have received. Our effort has been appreciated by people in great numbers. The success of this protest has been a huge blow in the face of the moral fascists. They must realize that people are not going to be okay with the intrusion in their personal spaces by these self proclaimed guardians of Indian ‘culture’, they will no more tolerate any sort of fundamentalist policing that violates the freedom of choice. The people are rising against hate – to love, to live, to let love, to let live.

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  1. aditya prakash

    its dosnt matter what those douche bags say?? who are they kill their infant daughter? beat their wises?? differentiate between son and daughter? u guys are doing an amazing work! iam with you the whole new generation is with you the real INDIANS are with you so dont worry n send dose SO CALLED DOGS to hell

  2. Jigsaw

    Clearly knowing that PDAs hurt Indian sentiments, you continue to unabashedly write in its favour, showing very little appreciation for moral values.

    Will you come face to face with reality and accept that PDAs are a menace or will you continue to support it, thus becoming an additional source to the misery inflicted by PDA practitioners.

    The choice is yours.

    1. Aditya Prakash

      and sm1 explain what he is saying?

    2. diva

      I hope you understand the meaning of public display of affection Aditya! And which is annoying! Its not about moral values and all that certain things are appreciated when done in private!

    3. Aditya Prakash

      every1 understands the public so called defination of love. its not just about allowing kiss in public its about standing against the dalal’s of indian culture now let me tell u 1 thing guys like u?? who r u?? u got a problem with of kiss of lve y dont u got a problem with the khap panchaytsmbullshit law against women if you rape sm1 den u marry her?? what the hell?? ur asking the killer to marry her victims dead body! one more thing my so called dear so called educated and a very modern indian buddy u didnt got a problem when a group of man parades a 40 year naked woman around a village 3,4 and 5 years girls r being raped now its their fault ri8?? may b they would hav been weering attracive dresses now my dear douche bag indian listen with yours ears open and ur mouth shut from the day on 3,4 and 5 years kids raing will stop when u bastard will stop littering public property when the so called dalas of indian culture will b gone stiil dat day i will say y dont u get lost. now 1 last thing you got a problm that tm apni maa behen ko may b daikho road pia kiss kate hue?? ri8?? u guys love to watch others maa_behen but got a problem if its ur own! remember mister whoever hell u r its a free nation if u got a problem with such things close ur eyes or take ur ass to afgan or bhadad. we r a nation of extreemely beutiful culture and abstracle aewsme mind we have been allowing womens to do acording to their will . u can guide not order and my so called dear real INDIAN becs of gusy like u INDIA WILL NEVR BE A DEVLP NATION

    4. adya

      what is this maa behen you people resort to all the time? is a woman only someone’s mother or a sister?
      why exactly is showing love wrong?

    5. prabhakar

      will kiss of love will solve all problem?? if not. then don’t mention it here. coming to issue…. why do you guys so obsessed with kiss of love what it will give to india a new kind of freedom??? yeah!? then how about doing sex in public or little twerking, for a while with your loved ones. this will be more of intensity and help a promising long lasting relationship. sounds weird ?? look, kissing in public was never indian phenomenon then why you are copying it from west? does it make you more modern?? or enlightened citizen. thing is people like you carrying incipient brain knows nothing about indian history and its culture and how a wrong trend in cultured society harms civilization it leads to more crimes.

    6. Aditya Prakash

      no my dear true indian we r not folowng west neithr north south or est its about against the mind set and d grip of the dalas of culture in indian culture evrythng wont give fruit bit it will have an impact that will make u think now my dear educated indian[i hope u r] when it comes to sex in public and twerking y dont u star it?? u gave a great suggstn! now u r against kiss of love bt not against rape n female and dowry and i dont knw what fr every reasn kiling of females this moment is against the thinking of guys like u. i bet u wont have done anything fruitfull for the society have u even stopped a man spitting pan in a public place?? listen if u cant bring the change then if sme peple r trying then just shut up if u cant why dont you get lost

    7. adya

      men wearing pants was also never indian culture neither were a lot of spices. what do you like to eat?

    8. prabhakar

      your western culturally advanced!! world https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-HI4DC18wCg
      go have look of miley cyrus twirking videos it will give sense of more freedom of expression

      india thousand years ago and today http://bit.ly/1xlrpwr

    9. prabhakar

      without knowing me you have done a great character assassination. it seems you don’t have proper mannerism of replying to a comment.. and you are asking me to get lost lol!
      i know there are so many ills in the society each should be dealt in proper way. and i agree with you thousand times on this part. but freedom for kissing in public is not a matured thing specially when you have no idea of indian history its art and culture. india has a culture and it resonates from past to present. Although for a person like me it will not offend me rather let me ponder on what will be the future… let me give you one more advice.. if you really concerned about this cause then you should also bear the responsibility of educating Indians our 60% percent illiterates and orthodox parents. when every citizen of this country will have decent standard of living.. respect of gender.. where rich understands the needs of poor, when we achieve 0.8+ HDI mark only then it will be fruitful to protest for a next level of expression of love. like they do in west. wait….but they do more than kiss of love and they are not cultured society. i hope people like you be more pragmatic in their thinking.

    10. public

      Aditya ji will you pls answer me to this question
      What will you do if your mother wife sister and daughter want to participate in kiss of love
      a) will u allow anyone to kiss them
      b) will u allow them to kiss anyone
      c) will u allow them to hug anybody
      d) not allowing them to participate

    11. adya

      why is public display of affection wrong?

  3. Nidaa

    Bravo Lady!!!
    It all started with the vandalism of our favourite hangout, Downtown, in Calicut by BJP’s Yuvamorcha. There has been several singular attacks against couples in many parts and may be this was the ‘enough was enough’ moment.
    I am so happy that these goons are shown their place and this movement has gained so much popularity.

  4. shrishti

    brave … and I appreciate the effort and the protest ….. salute to the protesters 🙂

  5. Jigmet Nurboo

    Waiting for the Kiss Of Love to hit Chandigarh!

  6. KARTIK

    I am at one hand extremely blessed that these friends reach all of our voices after getting such humiliation and on the other hand i feel unhappy that i am feared to express my views to my loved ones and society in support of pain taken by my friends.thanks a lot to you for post………….

  7. Aditya Prakash

    one mre thing my very concerned abt futr prabhakr u said we shoul do that we should acieve that ok!! i agree with u kitna easy hota na 10 problems count karwa diye n blah blah.. y dont you take a step? answer me prabhakar have u done anything fr the society raher than waste words?? u say i didnt got the manners to talk hell yeah to talk with you guys i have to cme to ur level gandhi g said an eye fr an eye will make the whole world blind bt trst to deal with persns having menatlity like u ! there is a saying laato kai bhoot bato sai ni mante!!!!!
    now now u r saying that india was this n dat in the past just tell mer 1 thing does past matter? if u r going to b sticked with the past hw r u supsd to grw with time change is must with time mind set evolve.. so if u r saying that india was smthing like dat in the past now it has becm smthng can u answr me smthng?? y 3,4 or 5 years old kids r being raped?? y recently a panchayat paraded a 40 year old woman around the village naked?? tell me?? tell me y peple spit pan in public places?? y infant girl child id killed?/ y the dowry system?/ y girls r still bojh?/ y a girl looses her virginity is a prostitute but the boy becms hunk?? y khap panchayats allow rapists to marry his victim! iam ill mannered i am a dark future of india but trust me iam a better futyre of india

  8. Avishek

    Bravo and congrats

    some people don’t have much to do but be pig and smell others shits. what’s loser they are.

  9. Khoka

    whatever…………………I dont support any of this shit…………..where we are continuously trying to work hard everyday to make India a better place, you are lost in your delusions of making India great by kissing……….it’s so not right………….and even if you write any comment against my opinion that cant change the actual situation

    1. Rohan

      I second your opinion. I am not against love or its expression but there could be much better way to express that in “public”. Furthermore these non-sense drives conducted by shallow minded self proclaimed society changers makes no impact on society, instead the mob becomes a center of laugh for a moment. There are better causes to be supported and initiated for betterment of the society at large and rest of the changes shall follow with its trickle down effects

    2. Aditya Prakash

      its ridiculous when people say that the western people r using yoga’s and all dat and r trying to fit in our way of life no offence what is our way of life/ sm1 is dying in the road and we walk out of the way becs we dont wana get in police jhanjhat just tell me one thing when u say western is following our ways what you basically mean?? its nothing new folwng yoga n all dat people tend follow good thing thats y declopment happens things get shared ideas bllosom now one mre thing when u say these sef proclaimed people fi8ng fr society u mean to say those self proclaimed society and cultural dala’s who say and define how to live and what limitations are?? u mean ti point fingers to those who say that a girls dress is reasponsible for rape?? yeah sure a 5 year olg kid would have wore i mini skirt sorry i will make sure they will b cmpltly dressed now 1 thing mre y dont you protest agains those ridiculous minden pele and panchayts who parade a woman nude and declare her witch or say a rapist shld marry her victim i always find it curios that people dont do anything to change society but whn sm1 tries the start oppsong such a tragedy now wana ask u smthng we live in a free nation i knw my limits and if i wana kiss my love in public how does it corrups the nation when rapes and such a mindset is not corptng d nation???????????????

  10. Akshat Rathi

    Congrats champ
    u r ryt dyuti 🙂 i respect yur thoughts nd i too think there should be freedom frm so called moral policing 🙂 if rss have so problem with defaming of indian culture y havent they done anything against eve-teasers and rapist

  11. abhineet

    The actual reason of protest is getting lost in misadministration of right wing men. The hypocrisy is deeper than these youngsters can fathom. Their kissing or hugging in public or anywhere else is such a trivial thing anyway which is being made a big deal of by right wing men. The article failed to address the psyche of right wing and hence it makes youngsters mere brats. India as a nation has far many issues to bring up which I hope these young people do care about. Nevertheless, this is a classic example of motivated reasoning on both sides with none actually trying to understand, to find a solution.

  12. Shelly

    There’s no point of supporting or not supporting this drive. It’s not about making India great. It’s about doing whatever the f*ck one wants to as long as it’s not hurting anyone. If two people want to kiss and show affection to each other, that shouldn’t be any of my concerns.
    It’s high time we stop poking noses in other people’s lives in the name of culture and morals and start minding our respective businesses.
    And dear fellow commenters, if you think there are other important issues to be addressed, please feel free to do something about them.

  13. unknown

    What the hell is wrong with people ….what is wrong in showing love towards ur loved ones…. huhhh stop these nonsense activities of hating things that are natural to human being … feelings like showing love, are natural and should never be stopped,,,,,

  14. Meghna Vinod

    I have nothing against ‘Public Display Of Affection’, but I just think that when people in foreign countries are trying to somehow change their ways of living by follows ours (Yoga, meditations, etc.), it feels as though we’re following their mistakes and making our way of living ‘a highway to hell’. In other words, the ‘kiss of love’ protest was a complete waste of time, and a sorry excuse for stupid (don’t mind my language, you should be happy I didn’t use any other word!) youngsters to smooch someone (or in this case, anyone), without having to feel embarrassed that they’re being watched. Sheesh! Talk about being such a ‘Despo’?! Do what you want to with your loved one in the privacy of your home or any other space. Why torture the cultured-wale log around you? Scarring them for life? “Yeah he/she loves you..yeah you love her back…oh wow you he/she kissed you..OMG!”-Is that the reaction you’re looking for? Dream on brothers and sisters!!
    And even if you did display your affection (’cause your hormone filled selves couldn’t take it any longer), you can’t do anything about what the people around you say. Live with it! If you can’t..then you shouldn’t have done it in the first place! We live in a free country for crying out loud…people talk about you whether you like it or not!!

    1. Anand Ujjwal

      Impressive

    2. Meghna Vinod

      ‘Impressed’ by what I said… or ‘Impressed’ by the whole K.O.L. Agenda..?

  15. bhupesh

    I think make it more gandhian next time. declare that the right winger coming to resist shall be kissed by some protester who shall come forward to do the same at very moment. ( of course do keep the right to decide gender to your self)

  16. pankaj

    Why are all these chutney marys and pickle johns so eager to kiss in public using some weak justification?

  17. jyotirmoy guha

    Are every Indian mature and educated enough to handle such sensitive issues like PDA??

  18. Inderpreet Kaur

    I think a great effort by the young blood.. Thanks for representing ‘the need to change of Indian blind mindset’, which clearly cant see the need of considering marital rape as a crime, (according to them, rape becomes sacred if done by the husband.. Bullshit).. We need to stand against hate, inequality and discrimination… and join hands to show them the change and PDA is an innocent expression of love marking the change

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