Kochi: On one side are youth fighting for a society free of ugly suspicions. And on the other a conservative society that brands any public display of affection as improper, even uncouth. After the ‘liberation movement’ in Marine Drive the positions seem to have hardened. In that sense, the battle has only begun. The protest, which has been dubbed ‘Kiss of Love’, should in fact be seen as the launchpad of a larger cultural movement to shake the society of its misplaced puritanism. It is up to the youth to take the revolution forward. Social media could be their most potent weapon.
I had earlier called this protest Kerala’s pink chaddi moment. Remember how the social media campaign against Mangalore pub attacks resulted in moral police chief Pramod Muthalick of Sri Ram Sena getting drowned under a sea of pink underwear. The Kozhikode incident was worse. A private channel was a co-conspirator. So when the regular media is a perpetrator, where can the answer come except from social media.
Even the ‘Kiss of Love’ protest is beside the point. The larger issue that needs to be addressed is what is now commonly known as moral policing, the tendency to take law into one’s hands, to unabashedly interfere in the life of others. The attitude of the BJP, VHP, SDPI and other right forces is hardly surprising, their behaviour was along expected lines. But why are the Congress and its feeder organizations like the KSU behaving in the manner they have? What has made them to give up their liberal traditions? It should never be forgotten that extreme situations will beget extreme reactions. The shocking manner in which women in Manipur reacted to the atrocities of the Indian army is still fresh in our collective memory.