We will not kiss in public, but we want the right to do so, say girls and boys aged 17-24 in both Delhi and Mumbai. While they favour self-restraint, they also vow to make this February 14 the biggest Valentine’s Day ever in reaction to the vicious attacks on lovers by the moral police.
A quick poll by HT City in Delhi and HT in Mumbai had young people say that they would date, drink and dress as they pleased, but would draw the line at kissing or excessive public display of affection.
Over 100 young people polled in each city said that there should be no law or action against unmarried couples dating, kissing in public, drinking or celebrating Valentine’s Day. They themselves, however, would not lock lips in public.
“Kissing is personal. It’s not something I would do in public, but it’s a choice youngsters should be allowed to make for themselves, without people beating them up,” says 18-year-old Mahadev Thakur, in first year. Sania Hashmi, 24, a filmmaker, has the same opinion, despite herself being uncomfortable with PDA.
Some youngsters abhor kissing in public. Bhavya, 18, is totally against it, though “holding hands is okay”. Vinamra Cheemra, 20, thinks explicit PDA is “gross”, while Swati Tandon, 20, feels it shocks society’s sensibilities. It’s “indecent and uncivilised” behaviour, adds Soumya Gandhi, 19.
Pub bharo andolan
For all their discomfort with kissing, the youth are fuming at the hardline assault on personal liberty. A series of activities have been planned to turn this Valentine’s Day “into the biggest India has ever seen” as a protest.
Renuka Choudhury, Union minister of state for women and child development, is starting a “pub bharo” campaign in response to Shri Ram Sene’s Mangalore pub raid.
Young Delhiite Namrata has started ‘A Valentine From India (AVFI)’, a campaign inviting youngsters to stand up to the anti-Valentine brigade. AVFI’s blog and Facebook has garnering big public support. “I’m hoping to organise a peaceful demonstration or candlelight march in Delhi on Valentine’s Day. We need to speak up against these goons,” says Namrata on the blog.
Earlier this week, HT City reported that activists of the Panther Party will use pepper spray and kung fu to protect young lovers from possible attacks by the self-proclaimed culture police. The youth may not be ready to kiss in public, but no one can deny them their Valentine’s Day.