Recent media reports, National newspapers and TV channels have been flooded with headlines of Indian youth organizing a protest so called “Kiss Fest” or “Kiss of love” across major cities of country to show their angst against Moral Policing by publicly kissing and hugging each other.
I really felt the strong sensation of understanding and analyzing this burning issue and its underlying cause and emotions. At first, we need to understand what “Moral Police” is!
According to Wikipedia, It is basically name given to vigilante groups which act to enforce a code of morality in India. They claim that their actions are to “protect Indian culture”. They attack anything that does not conform to their notion of purity and morality, including paintings, books, films and theaters, art exhibitions, pubs and other liquor retailers, beauty salons, and people who they deem to be embracing Western attitudes and clothing.
So recent acts of violence against youth caught in so called immoral acts by Moral Police led to the organization of “Kiss of love” campaign by Kochi based youth. The sole intention of this protest was to raise voice against mounting incidents of crimes by so called Religious and Political outfits which often includes thrashing and indecent punishments.
Our Indian culture and society has earmarked what’s acceptable and what’s NOT based on Izzat, sharm and Hayaa! As Indian youth, it’s also expected from us to follow our social norms and cultural sentiments which in my opinion is not bad. After all these cultural values are the ones which uniquely defines us in this world. But the BIG question is we follow it to what extent? Today’s Indian youth is born and brought up with the most twisted psychology, dangling between Indian traditions taught by parents and the western adopted cool lifestyle as observed around us. With the heavy influence of western world on Indians, it has taught us that it’s our Right to Free Expression and so showing affection in public isn’t bad at all. But conflicts arises when people with extreme mentality co-exists!
Thus it necessitates the understanding of this issue’s legality. Section 294(a) of Indian Penal Code states that “Whoever, to the annoyance of others, does any obscene act in any public place shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both”. However the meaning of the word ‘obscene’ is not given in IPC, hence it is interpreted differently by different authorities. But, with regards to kissing and hugging in public places, the Supreme Court of India has made it clear that ‘no case can be made out’ of two people con-sensually hugging and/or kissing. I further feel that IPC needs to be clear on each and every scenario arising in society so as to avoid any conflicts based solely on moral grounds.
Also, there can be no justification to crime of any nature whatsoever. So it’s high time that we pass strict laws against crimes done in the name of Moral Policing as it has been observed that these people are not saviors of Indian culture but just another bunch of people born and bred out of sick mentality of harming others. Thus, embracing protests like Kiss fest was necessary but wasn’t that we wished for.
Time has come when Indians at individual level need to understand that how much do they want to get influenced by Western world and also blending it with Indian flavor keeping in mind its legal and social ramifications. That’s the possible solution to ‘Modern’ and liberal Indian society.
As Indian culture never taught us that “It’s OK to Piss in public but Not Kiss in public”!! We must let people do what they want as long as it does not hurt the other sentiments. It is up to the individual to decide what is wrong and what is right. We are not here to judge all the people.
I just hope that Indian youth takes positive influence from other societies rising above such bitter conflicts in order to build a powerful nation with hitherto untapped potential.