What's in a kiss?12:30 PM
The medias are buzzing with stories of kisses. A buzz I blissfully missed when it apparently started in Kochi, Kerala. I probably had the excuse of being all caught up in the festive season madness and my then much deserved period of lethargy in Lucknow. Or perhaps I am simply too grown up for it, who knows.
I would have still been blissfully in the dark if it weren't for a few (emphasis on FEW) friends who bothered to share links related to this whole "Kiss of Love Campaign" affair on Facebook.
Then, a few of my readers brought it up in comments, and asked me to write about it too. I ended up mulling the topic over most of yesterday's afternoon, and it even crept into my mind while on my walk this morning.
So what the hell is this Kiss of Love Campaign?
It apparently started as a protest in Kerala, against yet another bout of moral policing. Sadly, this hardly news. Moral policing has been around for years. Right wing extremist political outfits have a nasty habit of stirring turmoil in an effort to get free publicity. If you live in India, chances you can name at least one, if not several of such parties by name. And, no, I will not give any names here, that would be already giving them exactly what they want, and they do not deserve that kind of spotlight.
They often resort to violence to enforce their rather backward and primitive views on people, because no sane people would even pay heed to them otherwise. Who can forget the Mangalore incident that took place in the early days of 2009 when a group of radical stormed a pub and molested women in the name of Ram and for the sake of Indian culture preservation? Back then people protested by sending pink underwears to the party's leader.
In my opinion, these fanatics are crazy, wrong, and nothing but terrorists. A term that very few dare to call them by. They scare the masses into bending their way, and are not below using the crassest, most repulsive and uncivilised tactics to do so.
Indeed, something should be done, and yes the need to protest has come, there is no doubt about it. But when you are dealing with a group of conservative fanatics, you need to do it intelligently. Sending pink undies didn't work. Kissing in public frankly is the equivalent of trying to put out a fire with kerosene.
These guys are against Western culture, and they claim to act in the name of Indian culture preservation. The kiss of love campaign does nothing but bring fuel to their fire.
Because, here is a breaking new for you: we don't kiss that liberally in the "evil West". Take it from me, I am a foreigner in India. I even come from that country where some of these West-hater Yahoos stash their black money away. Most self respected adult in the so called Evil West do not lock lips passionately in public. This is the stuff only movies and TV shows want you to believe we do.
I hope it didn't come as too much of a shocker, but the only people you are likely to see kissing in public in my homeland are infatuated teenagers that already made it their life's mission to rebell against everything in the universe. You won't find many 20+ something engage in anything more than a quick hug and an even quicker peck on the lips if at all. Passionate lip locking and embraces is something that belongs to the big screen and the bedroom...period.
Needless to say that if I, as a progressive Westerner, see it as a bit tacky and definitely stupid, you can imagine that in a country that is still traditional and conservative like India it will not go down well at all.
And let's just set these crazy right wingers aside for one moment shall we? There are many moderate conservative that have nothing against progress in India, as long as their sensitivities aren't hurt. Moderates that really feel just like the liberals that moral policing is seriously wrong. Moderate concervatives that will be a bit offended by this blind aping of Western culture, and I can't blame them.
In the 11 years I have lived in India, I found and still find myself dealing with stereotypes about my own culture, very few of them nice. In many cases I find myself trying to dispel these myth only to be told that I am wrong, simply because the TV shows something else. And many will not want to have their skewed perception corrected.
To me, it seems these moral policing outfits not only have a very poor understanding of what Western culture is. And I should really use a plural, because there is far more than just one culture in the occidental world. These groups also seem to have a narrow understanding of what the Indian culture they claim to defend is.
I say protest, protest with all your might. You have the duty to protest against those who impale your hard earned freedom and right to democracy. But if you want to affect a change, and rid yourself of this insane vigilante policing, do it the right way.
Take them at their own game, show them what Indian culture is truly like instead of feeling their evil West agenda. Expose them for their blatant hypocrisy, feed them to the masses they want to indoctrinate.
And last but not least, learn about Western cultureS before aping just about anything that seem progressive. You can only defeat idiocy with intelligence.