While a few television news presenters risked exploding in their attempts to describe and count the kisses exchanged during the protests, the rest attempted to explain why the protest was immoral. Yes it was amateurish. And quite provocative. The protest caused a lot of traffic problems, and did get in the way of people’s daily routine, but then that is how protests usually work their magic, don’t they? Voicing their concerns about blatant moral policing over public displays of affection, scores of students took to the street outside the RSS office in Delhi to demand their freedom to express love. Here are 10 reasons why we thought the Kiss of Love protest was awesome and important!
1. Because the issues they're exploring are bang on: “My body, my right” and “The right to love, in any form” aren't just slogans. The right to express one's love for another human being, in any form, is perhaps the most basic fundamental human right.
2. Because it exposes and makes nervous those who sit on the fence. There are those who violently oppose short skirts, and there are those who sit on the fence disapprovingly - while stealing glances. The massive overdose of PDA that this protest ensures forces them to come out and think about the issues at stake.
3. Because moral policing of affection is just not right! Let's face it, holding hands and kissing on a beach while the sun is setting is almost...innocuous. But outraged Morcha activists will tell you that such an act is an offence against Indian culture and disrespects women - and that you can get arrested for it is maddening.
5. Because we saw RSS activists protesting against Western culture, dressed in Western clothes!
6. Because of all the people who said: "Right end, wrong means". Not because we disagree with them or because we don't, but it is hilarious to read all the outraged status updates and the follow-up protestations of being liberal. Our favourite: "I know that kissing is good and fun. And I am not against love making. But what is this? Why is kissing protesting, why is it outside the RSS office and why not Ashoka Road. I am liberal and modern, but kissing shouldn't be a protest."
7. Because we should make fun of the country's many right-wing zealots. Really, we should. It'll do them good - it will help them stop taking themselves so seriously. Honestly, there's so much to make fun of. “Only married men and women kiss!” Really!
8. Because of the reversed expectations. Many turned up expecting to watch some sleazy making-out sessions. Or that's how the media portrayed it, with one venerable newspaper deciding to count the number of kisses. But the protests reversed all of that. Sleaze was replaced with intelligent questions and furious determination.
9. Because we live in a country where kissing between consenting adults is illegal, and marital rape is not.
10. Because, at the end of the day, we are not demanding that we be allowed to fornicate in public. We’re just saying that it should be okay to express desire or tenderness towards our partners with a brush of the lips against theirs. A warm, willingly bestowed touch can be magical - it is sickening to be forced to think of it as criminal.