Isn’t freedom beyond a ‘Kiss of Love’?

By Gayatri Sankar | Last Updated: Nov 06, 2014, 09:48 AM IST

Public display of affection, or PDA as we popularly call it, is yet to find acceptance in the society that we dwell in. The recent 'kiss of love' campaign by some of the volunteers in Kerala, protesting against the moral police, has proved that India, as a nation, is not prepared to allow its citizens to indulge in such physical intimacy in public and rightly so.

We, as a society, have certain morals instilled in us and if we blindly ape the West, we will lose our individuality.

Interestingly, the moment one raises slogans against PDA, the flag bearers of modernity immediately cite examples of the sensuous Khajuraho, the Ajanta carvings and last but not the least – the Kamasutra.

Even before one starts arguing about ‘hypocrisy’ in the Indian society, it would be important to know what these symbolise.

What are they trying to prove? Will their demand for freedom to kiss in public help India move ahead as a nation? Isn’t the idea of freedom beyond PDA and dressing?

Such irresponsible actions only prove their desperation to do “something different”. Each of us as a citizen is expected to show some civility and conduct ourselves well in public.

The reason even a film runs a parental guidance disclaimer before the screening starts is to alert parents about the presence of scenes that may be inappropriate for children’s viewing. Now can these campaigners of ‘Kiss of Love’ hold themselves responsible if their actions have underage onlookers? What impact will it have on kids and do they expect parents to distract them from such pathetic display in public?

Who has stopped them from making love or kissing? They are free to do so within closed doors. And who said kissing is the only way to express love? Exchanging roses or even a compassionate smile could do the needful.

The organisers - ‘Free Thinkers’, a group of Facebook users - may have been offended by the attack on a couple in a coffee shop, but such irresponsible way of protest will only make matters worse.

Yes, of course, both men and women should have the liberty to dress as they wish to, but isn’t there a basic dress code that each of us are expected to adhere to? No one swims in formal suits. A swimming costume is what one would wear. Similarly, while at work, employees are expected to be in their formals. We don’t attend a wedding ceremony in casuals, do we? Each occasion has a set dressing line and each occasion expects a certain code of conduct. Similarly, displaying affection too needs suitable atmosphere.

At a time when women, not just in India but abroad too, are being subjected to severe humiliation for being the “fairer sex”, such noise distracts attention from core issues. A recent video uploaded by an American woman, a victim of eve-teasing, drew massive support from across the globe. The video showed her walking alone on the streets of Manhattan with men passing lewd remarks at her. Don’t women need to be freed from such societal and psychological mindsets which treat them as sexual objects?

In India, female foeticide is still a dominant feature. Dowry is yet to become an extinct tradition. If kissing in public could eradicate social menace, many of the nations across the globe would have adopted the practice in a bid to free themselves of their shortcomings.

‘Free Thinkers’ must introspect, for being bold isn’t restricted to being a kisser in full public view. They must think beyond.