By Atul Kapoor
The perpetrators of ‘blotch busters’ like ‘Pink Chaddi’ and ‘Slut Walk’ campaigns have returned with yet another showcase, this time in the name of ‘Kiss of Love’. The latest campaign is touted to be some kind of an uprising against the enormities of the moral police. This campaign was initiated when a Facebook page tackily called as ‘Kiss of Love’ exhorted the youth across the state of Kerala to participate against ‘moral policing’ on 2nd of November at Marine Drive, Cochin. As no one likes too much of policing; moral or otherwise, so, naturally, the campaign received massive support and took little time to spread its tentacles to other urbane stretches of India where the young and the restless leave little opportunity to bring forth to the world that they are young and that they are the restless.
Taking a detour from the likes of Kolkata, Hyderabad, Mumbai, the campaign finally reached its pinnacle in the heartland of Delhi when the youth activists assembled in front of the ‘RSS’ office and kissed each other openly in, well, ‘protest’. ‘It’s totally legal’, they asserted, citing the honorable Supreme Court’s judgment that kissing in public was not an obscene act and no criminal proceedings can be initiated for the same. If it’s legal it’s perfect, right. So, what would you make out of a son with rebellious streak if he smokes in the face of his irate father telling him, “Chill out dad, it’s totally legal. You cannot send me to jail for this, can you?”. The above mentioned analogy doesn’t necessarily absolve the overindulgence of the so called ‘moral brigade’ that is quite often culprit of creating mountain out of the dew – or is it out of the undue. It was meant to bring home the point that whatever is legal may not always be ‘cool’. Trying to ridicule the beholder of an argument, howsoever absurd that argument could be in one’s eyes, doesn’t constitute a productive counter argument. It rather emboldens the argument maker even further thereby damaging all the possibilities, if any, of the turnaround.
Extremities are the root cause of most of the scourge in society today. The torchbearers of ‘India Culture’ may at times have an important point to make but it simply gets lost in the unseemly translation. They tend to position themselves in such up righteous and uncompromising manner that whatever good they might contain in their argument is also seen with suspicion and deemed ‘evil’. The party at their receiving end in the meanwhile, in its ill conceived strategy of giving tit for tat, decides to take an equally extremist stance, if not crazier, to teach them a lesson once and for all. The end result is a dud with both the parties fostering even greater hostility against each other that must come to show in the imminent showdown. So, what probably could be done to avoid such a situation? The best possible option would be to bring both the parties to the negotiation table. Negotiation works better that being a confrontationist. Let’s try to understand the situation with a simple example of a young boy wanting to go for a late evening party with friends. His father is a disciplinarian and would most likely not allow him. Here, the boy could either take an out and out confrontationist stance or could take the tortuous path of hard bargain for some kind of allowable time limit with his father.
The above example would seem to put the entire onus of breaking the ice upon the son but then it would also test the willingness of the father to adopt change. With time and persistence of the ever negotiating son process of change would set in. But yes, most of the effort would have to come from the son. It doesn’t mean that the moral brigade shouldn’t realize that Indian culture is not that vulnerable that it must get into jeopardy at every slightest hint of their idea of immorality. And the other party should also get sensitized that some of the concerns of the moral brigade could also be legitimate and it should come across as a party willing to concede ground.
Youth have a natural tendency of having an idealistic approach towards world. They create an image of utopia in their minds and strive to attain it come what may. And there lies the problem. Not willing to concede any ground in the name of idealism will only lead to more confrontation and lead us nowhere. Unfortunately, the world is not for the idealists wearing blinkers and having no patience to pay heed to contradicting viewpoint. Ours is a society in transition and we can’t expect everyone, especially the moral brigade, to have a good appetite for change, even if that change is assumed to be progressive. Old habits die hard. Crude campaigns like ‘Kiss of Love’ would only add longevity to them.
About The Author: Atul Kapoor is an author of a novel ‘Incredible High’ published in the year 2010. Presently, he is working on his next book which is a group of short stories knitted together to give them a semblance of the novel. He keeps dabbling in poetry and writing articles in between.