There is nothing as wonderful as kissing. We shall kiss in the daylight, out in the open, and in front of hundreds of people – this is the mantra of the ongoing “Kiss of Love” protest in India.
University students have been shouting slogans in this public kissing campaign. They are protesting against the acts of arresting two youngsters for kissing on the streets in Kerala, and not letting a girl enter Star Theatre in Kolkata for wearing a miniskirt. Mainly, they are kissing to protest against moral policing in India.
Incidents like these have been occurring often in many countries. If policemen see couples getting intimate in parks or beside streets, lakes, or rivers, they tend to harass them. As if dating is a crime. Holding hands, hugging, or kissing in public are considered vulgar. Sexuality is also considered obscene. Is violence obscene too? Sadly, I don’t think anyone believes that violence is vulgar.
Disrespecting people on the streets, swearing at people by using filthy words, sexual harassment, mob killings of pickpockets – none of these seem very obscene to anyone. No one objects to people spitting or urinating on the streets. People starving to death or dying on the streets for lack of treatment doesn’t seem to be offensive to anyone.
But, it is offensive when you hold someone’s hand or kiss someone out of love. Loving is a crime. That is why there’s so much hatred around us.
Do you remember how John Lennon protested against the Vietnam war? He got naked in front of the whole world and announced: “Make love, not war.” Those who believe in the politics of hatred and jealousy prefer wars to making love. It is surprising that in this 21st century, Bengali writers and littérateurs believe that kissing in public is not right.
Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay said: “This can’t be a way to protest. This shows nothing but bad taste. People protested in Kerala by arranging a mass-kissing event. That doesn’t mean the same thing needs to be done in Kolkata.”
Minister Bratya Basu of West Bengal said: “Would they accept it if their parents did the same?” There are moral police everywhere! Even in the intellectual society.
I wonder why we need to make love only inside the four walls of locked rooms. Go near nature. Go to secluded forests. Go to quiet sea beaches on moonlit nights. Kiss. Love and make love.
We are nothing but the children of nature. Let the world see that we love each other. Let the sky see. Let the jasmines see.
Even though our Western friends are used to this, our friends from the East are not. To them, bodies – especially women’s bodies – are still vulgar. So is sexuality.
When I first went to Europe, I was surprised to see naked and half-naked men and women sun-bathing near the sea. That was probably the time when I discovered that our bodies are beautiful, not vulgar. Whenever I see two people kissing deeply, I feel that we don’t need walls around us to steal a kiss.
Kisses are just as beautiful and nourishing under the open sky. The taste of a kiss is the same – indoors or outdoors. But, when you want to kiss each other and you can’t – because of what people would say – that pain of repression is awful.
I didn’t have many lovers in my life. But, in the city of Paris, I kissed one of my boyfriends whenever I wanted to, in the gardens, streets, cars, theatres, and cafes. I am not talking about kisses on the cheek, I am talking about long, deep kisses.
Without kisses, my life used to feel so dry. I feel really good when I see people loving each other. Jealous and resentful people cannot stand others loving one another.
I have noticed that those who are for kissing in public, and those who are against it, both sides are blaming patriarchy. Kissing in public means turning women into commodities – a trick of patriarchy.
On the other hand, the reason behind stopping people from kissing in public is to keep women locked indoors; to go against the independence of women. This is also a trick of patriarchy!
I don’t want to go into discussions about patriarchy. I am simply taking the side of human bodies, and love.
I accept all kinds of love – love between man and woman, two women, or two men. I praise the expression of all kinds of love. I don’t want to see anyone dying or suffering on the streets. I don’t want to see anyone being beaten up or beating up someone else. I don’t want to see arson.
I don’t want to see people insulting, harassing, or raping girls. I want to see people loving and kissing each other on the streets. I’ll be happy even if I see people making love! Making love is a lot more beautiful and sacred than war, famine, or death.