Recently, supporters of Shiv Sena, took on the garb of moral policemen attacking youth and chasing them away with canes, who they took for lovers, expressing their love ‘in public’ under umbrellas near Marine Drive in Kochi. The banner of these moral policemen declared their intention was to put an end to ‘romance under the umbrella’. Two questions arise at this point (1) is there an inviolable ‘line of control’ these young lovers are expected to respect as they express their love for each other in public? old-timers might claim there is one in a society like India, while ‘newgen’ diehards would shout down such claims, taking umbrage under the fact that no such line; for that matter, no such control, exist in promiscuous societies like the West. (2) Is it the responsibility of wayward religio-political outfits like the Shiv Sena to define morality and ensure its enforcement in society? These questions assume relevance against the ruling of the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court that ‘kissing in public is not an obscene act and no criminal proceedings can be initiated for kissing in public’. Are the moralists concerned that kissing might progress to more ‘intense’ methods of expression of love, inappropriate for public display?
It is strange that these so-called moralists tend to hibernate when Soumya was raped and murdered beside the rail road near Shornur on February 1 2011, and when Jisha was raped and cut up into pieces at her home on February 17 2016, and when a South Indian actress was molested and dishonored in her car by seven goons on NH47, the other night, all in Kerala. Don’t these audacious acts that amount to violating womanhood measure up as ‘immorality’ to them? Why don’t they put in place perpetrators of such appalling deeds which even animals don’t indulge in? The rampaging moralists in Kochi were suspended from Shiv Sena. Policemen standing by the rampage were suspended too. Legislators in The state assembly went on a rampage against the rampage, as only politicians can! More interestingly, several pairs locked lips through the ‘kiss of love’ protest organized by a clutch of progressive organizations. The policing act thus resulted in a more intense form of expressing love by many couples in the open. It was a mess of sorts at marine Drive in Kochi, with moral policemen attempting to enforce morality on youth in Cupid’s clutches, on one side and protesters who chose to defy the former by lip locking in public on the other-a tussle of sorts between the cane and the lips!
‘Kiss of love’, a novel method of protest, has been resorted to earlier, against moral policing. This movement began when a face book page called ‘kiss of love’ exhorted malayalee youth to participate in a protest against moral policing on November 2 2014 at Marine Drive, Kochi, which has turned into a crucible to churn out supposedly dying morality in God’s own Country! The movement received widespread support with more than 154, 404 ‘likes’ (whatever that means)! For the face book page, and thousand lips locked in public, which left the police and the authorities clueless.
In the light of the standoff between ‘moral policing’ and ‘kiss of love’ as a means of protest, it looks like more people would yearn for more stringent moral policing as that would give them an opportunity to lock lips in public, under police protection- a seeming irony of errors!