A campaign in Kerala has triggered a debate in India over Public Display of Affection (PDA).
The recent act of youngsters in Kochi spearheading ‘Kiss of love’ campaign against BJP youth wing activists, who attacked a coffee shop in Kozhikode on October 26, has not gone down well with a section of the society.
Let's face it. You find them ubiquitous, be it in your neighbourhood mall, in a moving rickshaw, at theatres, dark and isolated corner of a road and the famous jogger’s park, holding hands and sharing love. What will your immediate reaction be? Yes, you feel uncomfortable.
But, on the contrary, you feel glad when you see an older couple sharing time with each other on a park bench hand in hand, or a newly-wed couple sharing a lovable kiss and embracing each other. Doesn’t the romantic in you feel proud to witness such sincere displays of affection? Yes, it does. So, why not in the first case? Are we a ‘kiss starved nation’?
In a country where we claim that we are as “progressive” as our Western counterparts, adore Beatles and Beiber (*sigh*), why are we so close about this idea? Why is Public Display of Affection not acceptable in the world’s largest democracy?
All of us have desires which come naturally to all human beings. You can’t just equate desires with guilt every time. How can we talk about development when in a country we can't wear what we want and do what we think is right? If “beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”, I feel the vice-versa of it also holds true that filthiness too lies in the eyes of the beholder. It's just a matter of your perception.
We talk about benefits of sex education, but at the same time are wary of its implications. Introduction of sex education in high schools has 'spoilt' the minds of children of impressionable age, an Andhra Pradesh High Court judge had, to my amazement, observed last year.
We have to accept the fact that people and traditions constantly change. We have to understand that the development of any society is dependent on the attitude of its people towards a particular fad. Now, this doesn’t mean that we blindly start importing values from one society and impose on another one.
But, we have to change our perspective and widen our vision of looking at things because handling over-modernisation will also be a tough task.
We have to understand and acknowledge that most of us are sensible enough to understand as to when a hug, a kiss, holding hands or embracing each other is acceptable and when it is not, and where should the line be drawn as displaying of love is important and sweet, but it should not get vulgar and overtly sexual.
So, please let’s not be a ‘kiss starved nation’ as a kiss only spreads happiness and makes us feel how much we are loved - be it a kiss from a mother to a child or between two lovers.
POST SCRIPT: PDA is a very subjective issue. However, sexual acts in public are not acceptable. These should be private and confined to bedrooms please.