Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Lipstick Revolution

Girls kissed girls. Guys kissed guys. Girls and guys kissed each other.Students at University of Hyderabad were kissing for a cause - the right to express themselves, without the fear of moral police. It was one dramatic Sunday evening, as hundreds of young men and women turned up to kiss in public! On one side, you had representives of various student political outfits shouting slogans against 'Western influence' and 'moral decay'. On the other side, there were cops trying hard to keep the mob under control. But no amount of booing, catcalling or sloganeering by the self-appointed guardians of "Bharatiya Sanskriti" could deter the 'kissers'. And while the angry mob brandished their flags, banners and moral danda, the young protestors had just one weapon to fight the moral police -lipstick! There were lipstick marks everywhere -on their faces, mouths, posters - as they kissed each other in protest. 

The protesters were a microcosm of India -there were students from Delhi, North East India, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Andhra Telangana... And a heated debate ensued. 

"Who defines culture and how?" asks Agaja, a 21-year-old MA student, adding, "Who assigned the moral police the 'job' that they are doing?" Shailendra Sahu an M.Tech student and ABVP activist fumed, "How can they kiss like this publicly? If their parents walk in or a senior professor passes by , will they not be ashamed? Will any of these guys allow their sisters to come up in public and kiss other guys in public?" To this, pat came the reply from Bilal Majid, a doctoral student of HCU, "My sister has turned 18, and as an adult, she has every right to go ahead and kiss if she chooses to. As her brother, I respect and support her right of freedom." 

Saying this, Bilal went to apply another coat of lipstick before kissing and hugging fellow students.

Another student, Raman S said, "People can take off their pants and piss in public. But if someone wants to kiss, it is labelled 'obscene'! How? I say , if pissing is allowed in public why not kissing?" "Kissing is not about sex. It can happen between two friends, class mates, relatives, a father can kiss his daughter," said Arundhathi B, a student, as she kissed her classmates. "A kiss is an expression of affection. How come no one protests so strongly against eve teasing and rape?" she fumed, adding, "It is my right to do what I want to do. I am not doing anything obscene by kissing or hugging." 

Talk about using 'kiss and tell' to drive home a point!

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