Opinion on the 'Kiss of Love' protest

mbr

Bodhi is publishing an English translation of a note written by M B Rajesh(MP) on his Facebook page. The translation was not cross-checked by/with the original author. Any errors in translation will be corrected if brought into notice.

My friends have been asking about my opinion regarding the "Kiss of Love" protest being organised in Kochi against the increasing incidents of moral policing in Kerala. Hence this note.

There would be people who agree or disagree with any particular mode of protest. However, nobody has the right to stop and attack a protest simply because one has problems with the mode of protest. Those who have disagreements are free to have their opinion, but it is impossible to support the view that anything that some people do not agree with has to be disallowed or repressed. And there is no way one can agree with Hindutva Talibanism.

Those who are raising a hue and cry against the Kiss of Love protest should also keep in mind a few things. A few years back, Thangjam Manorama Devi was dragged out of her home by the Army in Manipur and was brutally gang-raped and murdered. Some women protested against this horrendous crime in front of the Assam Rifles' headquarters by going naked, and it shook the conscience of the world. Nobody with a conscience or sense of justice could see any "obscenity" in this protest.

Moreover, even the "godmen" and "godwomen" of Kerala have been expressing compassion by public embraces and public kisses. Why do the very same people who glorify such acts refuse to grant the same rights to others? Please remember that kisses and hugs are universally used to express love, friendship and respect, by people all over the world, including national leaders.

Isn't it far better to protest by sharing love than to kill each other? In these times when love has become a topic of tumultuous debates, I'm reminded of two poets. One is Octavio Paz, and the other is the martyr poet and playwright Safdar Hashmi. These are Octavio Paz's renowned lines: "If two kiss, the world changes" And Safdar said, "Jeena hai to ladna hai, Pyaar karna hai to bhi ladna hai" (You have to struggle if you want to live; You have to struggle even if you have to love.)