Vantage Point: A Kiss In The Land Of Moral Chaos
Cultural incorrectness? Moral policing? What’s really happening? Simply put, it’s all in our mind. Aarti Panikkar puts her point across in her free-flowing yet straight-forward style. Not everyone may like it but one certainly cannot gloss over her arguments either.
On Nov 14, 2014


Ok, so much brouhaha! And for what? Because a faction of liberal minds wanted to show their support for love, and maybe even their support for freedom of PDA. You can do nothing but be aghast at the sequence of dramatic events that rolled out

First of all, let’s examine who these Moral Polices are;
•    A curious breed of anti-socials who call themselves the torch-bearers of ‘Indian Culture’, playing the roles of ‘moral vigilantes’!
•    ‘Mostly associated with conservative political and religious sects that condemn anyone unwilling to kowtow to our ‘so-called morals’ or anything that is vaguely linked to openness about the ‘forbidden 3 letter word’.
•    Suffering from serious condition of ‘Frustration Disorder’
•    Diagnosed with having the ‘No one-should-have-what-I-don’t-have’ syndrome
•    Displays symptoms of ‘Double Standard Illness’
•    Perfectly OK with carrying out any dirty work discreetly, while being in the forefront to criticise genuine people who are blatantly honest about matters pertaining to sex.
•    ‘Moral Policing’ is a main occupation for many; though there is a large subsection who considers it just a recreational activity during their leisure time.
•    This activity has been mainly doing rounds in our dear state for the past two decades or so; that is since parents turned sensible and started letting their offsprings actually make friends with the opposite sex.
•    Their main duties include being a German Shepherd, i.e. snooping around, sniffing out people who are doing ‘it’ anywhere that is remotely open/public, for e.g., cars, parking areas, beaches, parks, etc.; it being kissing, fondling, hugging or anything that suggests one apparently has the capacity of self expression.
•    The trend of the activity was expected to gradually downturn and die down. But, due to the highly admirable ‘state of our state’ these ‘moral polices’ are still running rampant
•    These ‘police’ have incarcerated many such ‘perpetrators’ so far. Even siblings and married couples have made it to the hit list, until proven their ‘innocence’.

Well, I wonder whoever laid down the rules in this state that you need to be hanging from different branches of the same family tree or have a blown-up laminated marriage certificate in your shoulder bag to be able to express your love and affection to someone you care about.
Now let’s slice up the clichéd reasons why a kiss in public is deemed to be wrong in our state.

1.    It’s immoral

Now, who makes the definitions of morality. The dictionary definition goes as “Concerned with the principles of right and wrong behaviour”. And what is right for me might be wrong for you. There are countries across the world that practise kissing in public as a very normal affair. Does that mean they are immoral and we are highly moral? It’s a pity that we Keralites still have not learnt to respect each other’s views on morality and coexist!

2.    It is against Indian Culture.

Let me make something very clear. First of all, India does not possess a culture of its own per se. The culture that we have now has been the cumulative effect of 5000 years of having borrowed infinite number of customs, rituals, languages, attires and lifestyles from every passerby who visited us or had the guts and power to invade us. The minutiae of our culture if dissected can be seen as imbibed from the Aryans, Mughals, the Persians, the British, the Portuguese, the French and so on and so forth.

I hope the young popular critic who pops up in TV every now and then just to shout the 2 words ‘Indian Culture’ for anything under the sun would have something to say about this. I would like to pose 2 questions to all those who can’t seem to stop flaunting this reason for detesting public kissing.

•    Please show us where exactly in any of the scriptures or doctrines (The Gita, The Upanishads, The Vedas, The Itihasas, The Puranas) that most certainly form an integral part of Indian culture, is it written that kissing or public display of affection is a transgression.
•    Isn’t Khajuraho built around 1000 years ago in the heart of India, - where display of affection, and sex itself is portrayed publically - a part of Indian culture?

3.    This cannot happen on our soil

That means when these same people go abroad, they would not at all cringe at the sight of a lip-locking couple on the road. So the problem is with the land we walk on? Now get a grip people! Are moral demarcations based on the kind of soil you stand over justified, I wonder. Last time I checked, this was still not deemed a fascist society!

Coming to the ‘Kiss of Love’ commotion; the attitudes of people here are so passé that it was over and out expected that there would be exponential times more people who made a foray than who supported it. The highlight of the event was a group called ‘Freakers of Kochi’ another kind of police, who put up quite a show; that the model police of State Armed Force and the moral police together joined hands in beating them up mistaking them for KoL supporters. They even seem to have come up with categorizations of which type of kiss is ‘Halaal’ and which is ‘Haraam’. Their point seems to be that adopting other cultures is utterly completely unacceptable sans the below said gimmicks.

•    Getting squeezed into funky loud clothes as if they were sown on to their skins
•    Unloading bottles of hair products on top of their heads and making their hair look like a toilet brush
•    Getting their facial hair designed into immaculate patterns and so on

Well aren’t the above said more plausible of being tagged as borrowed from the western culture than PDA and openness about sex and intimacy? At least the guy with 2 wives (one of them being a popular anchor on TV), who played gangmaster should have had some contemplation without setting out for this task. Him who has 2 wives and parades around publically with both on either side like paraphernalia sure offends me. It may comply with his religious beliefs, but it most definitely is against my ideals and morals, the ones that I was brought up with and I bet there are many who would assent. Yet we wouldn’t go out there marching with flags and boards saying it is against the morality we believe in. That’s because some of us actually have the sense to let people make their own lifestyle choices, live their lives and do things the way they feel right, as long as it is not by hurting a fellow compatriot.

And have we stooped down to the point where we have ceased to be a society where even freedom of speech is no longer the right of a citizen?  Just the other day a teacher had to face so much reproach in the forms of verbal thrashing, mean posters and what not. Her offence – a post in her Facebook profile supporting Kiss of Love. And does it stop there? She was asked to be dismissed from her job, by the PTA and even the student community (who were apparently the dextrous hands behind the posters).

And there is more. 10 students have been dismissed from a college in Kochi because they conducted a ‘Hugs of Love’ protest, where they hugged each other to spread love and to protest the regressive attitude that is increasingly becoming unhealthy. C’mon people! A hug is not even a sensual gesture when done with affection. It’s even scientifically proven that ‘A hug a day keeps illness at bay’. And we protest for that. Our land is so tolerant towards violence. People stage violent protests all the time and no one is seen lifting a little finger against them. But when someone protests non-violently by showing love, suddenly there are clusters of prudes emerging from all corners!

Look at what happened in Kolkata. They pledged their support calling the movement ‘Kochi to Kolkata’ and it was a grand success. No one was beaten up, no one ran frantically, no one was hurt. They came, kissed, shared their happiness, left. And isn’t Kolkota part of this very India and its culture? They are, but guess the people are more sensible.

Kissing in all its glory is just an act of expressing love and affection. How does something considered perfectly pleasurable at night or inside the confines of a home, suddenly turn sinful and aberrant in daylight or in the open? And we are not even talking about anything obscene, for the Supreme Court itself has ruled that kissing as an act of obscenity. May be these people should ask Government to declare a dry day for kisses when no one is allowed to kiss in public. Would that suffice to satisfy these culture mongers?

The fact is this geographical part of the world was civilized much earlier than the rest. When many others lived in jungles we lived in cities. And we kept learning from all the visitors and invaders that kept drinking blood from our soil, and we kept getting enriched as a culture. I hope when people keep raving and ranting relentlessly about ‘Real Indian culture’ they would rather realise that civilization is our real culture. And beating up people who express love is not civilized at all. And that is what is against our culture.

Finally if you think you get intolerably rankled and cannot stand the sight of two people lip locking or sharing love, you should introspect whether the problem is with your mind or their love.

Aarti Panikkar

Business Analyst by day, entrepreneur by evening, aspiring writer. Car crazy, adventure chasing, animal-adoring lass; She has pledged her eternal love for books and books alone.
Aarti blogs at

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