One fine morning God’s own country woke up to face an innovative and unusual way of protest against the so-called ‘(im)moral police’ infringing into personal freedom of expression of affection in public. They termed it “Kiss of Love”.
To cut the long story short, within a day kiss of love turned out to be a spate of hate!
People of Kerala, who have seen innumerable types and kinds of protests of all (il)legitimate forms, and who, with all submissiveness, treated them all with the usual indifference and silent victimization, all of a sudden rose up to take sides – majority of them rubbishing the whole idea as a mere sham of vulgarity and obscenity.
Being rather active on social media, I too was dragged into the public conundrum of ‘kiss of love’. Well, I thought the idea was very simple – kiss to express the freedom of love within the bounds of our legal system. But surprisingly, I soon realized that it was indeed growing into an epic war – between self-employed moralists and stigmatized immoralists; the old generation and the new generation; between the ‘kerala-cultured’ and the ‘western-spoilt’.
“So, what will the protesters demand to do next, will they demand to have sex in public place..? Aren’t these people trying to mislead the younger generation?” Such were the interesting questions raised by the so-called exponents of ‘Kerala culture’. One of my friends on Facebook had this rejoinder to answer them: “Kiss in public as protest..? We can’t let this happen in Kerala. It is not becoming of our culture. Can’t they rather organised hartals? Can’t they disrupt normal life, break vehicles, heads and public property? Can’t they rather stop ambulances, kill a few, break the hands and legs of some; or even severe limbs if necessary? Can’t they choose to create communal tension and get a good number killed? At least, can’t they rather use filthy, abusive words against each other? Why Kiss?” Well, I got a lavish personal share of the heat of those trying to save God’s Own Country’s culture – such dysentery of abusive language on my Facebook page that I hadn’t ever heard in my whole life. I hadn’t known that Malayalam and English have such strong and rich gamut of abusive vocabulary. For a moment I wondered: Is using abusive language part of Kerala’s
I feel unfortunate to say, even while we take pride in calling ourselves educated and developed, narrow minded behaviors like clandestinity, hypocrisy and seeking vicarious satisfaction are deeply rooted in our people. Sex and people’s privacy matters sell like hot cakes here. The best example was what happened at Marine drive on that day. When 30 people came for “Kiss of Love” protest, 300 people came to protest against it and 30000 people came to see it. These 30000 people represent the real Kerala society. Recently we saw how some private video of certain infamous persons went viral on WhatsApp and other social media. Thousands raised voice against a kiss at Marine drive. How many of these persons do raise their voice against the rampant corruption, poverty, violence against women and children, lethargic attitude of authorities on public issues, etc. I wonder! In Kochi what took place was an attack against the freedom of protest.
Is our culture so shallow as to lose its sheen if a few people protested by kissing in public? And who are these self-appointed persons/ groups who are dictating culture to the rest of society? No one, belonging to any religion, caste, creed or ideology, is entitled to force others to act or behave in a particular way by declaring themselves the keepers of culture and morality. It is against fundamental freedom ensured in our constitution. Creating a feeling that individuals are the property of a particular society, religion or caste with prescribed norms and rules is a myth created by politicians and other religious/social groups to grind their axe. It is high time for people of Kerala to feel self worth as individuals as well as see others as persons with individuality and dignity.
If you ask me whether I would kiss my wife in public, I may not. But it is none of my concern if you and your partner choose to do it. I have my business to mind, so have you your freedom. What needs to be changed is the attitude that you become a criminal only if you are caught; you can do any shameless thing as long as others won’t see it, etc. I would rather prefer to teach children and youngsters the dignity of expressions of love, so that they do not misuse it. If kiss, hug and sex are defined as mere ‘vulgarity’, shouldn’t we be walking around heads bent in shame, that we have been born out of a ‘dirty act’ done by our parents? We need to feel within that we have been born out of an expression of sacred love. Only this awareness can stop people from misusing it. Not moral policing goondaism, but only an attitudinal change can ultimately stop people’s obsession with others’ private life. And this energy should be channelized against corruption, political violence, injustice, poverty and other issues affecting society.
Thanks To http://www.kochousephchittilappilly.com/