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Few Americans know that there still is a Connecticut law in force in Hartford, which states It is illegal for a man to kiss his wife on Sunday. At least one American couple couldn't believe itself when the pair were hurled in to a police vehicle for kissing in public on a Sunday!
This bewildered couple was not in Hartford but was visiting Kerala, an Indian State which takes great pride in calling itself God’s Own Country, where laws written by Gods are still Gospel truth.
In fact the local police chief, who happened to be a lady, was simply enforcing an Indian law which makes it illegal for anyone to kiss in public on any day, when the couple, unaware of the local law, kissed before a camera at the request of a journalist who was covering an unusual event.
Anti Kiss of Life protesters being chased by police.
The unusual media coverage the event received in India and the way the whole episode sort of fissile out show the double standard on morality most Indians can’t shed despite the progress the country has achieved.
Though initiated by a group of people with progressive views on liberty and freedom of speech and expression active on social media, the movement soon gained political overtones inevitable in one of the politically conscious states of India.
The puritanical moral policing was an act of the BJP, backed by India’s Hindu religious fundamentalists, who aim to grab the power from the Congress party who currently govern Kerala.
On the other hand, Kerala’s communists who are constantly fighting off the BJP has seen a political opportunity.
The result was that the Kiss of love event which was organised to be held peacefully was opposed and disturbed by various organisations under all of these political set ups, forcing the police to remove the handful of the participants even though the government did not intent to enforce the law.
The disruption by the political parties were organised with an eye on the coming election so as to position themselves on the right side of the kissing divide. But it clearly demonstrates the hypocrisy of a society which wants to align itself with the free and liberal outside world.
Though this was an isolated incident which occurred in Kerala, a state politically and socially ahead of rest of the country, the approach of the BJP which has succeeded in grabbing power at the national level by unifying and concentrating the votes of the Hindus who form the majority, in holding on to the archaic social set up of India is what worries the progressive minded in India.
Incidentally this was reflected in a cartoon by the New York times on the occasion of the success of India’s Mars mission, which lead to widespread protests and eventual apology from the paper.
Meanwhile, the Kiss of Love brigade of Kerala has actually claimed success of their movement and promised to regroup and continue their efforts to change the social attitude of their countrymen regarding freedom to love and expression of love.
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