Fuss Over Jharkhand's Kissing Contest is a Proof of our Dislike for PDA

Yamini Pustake Bhalerao
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A few days ago, a tribal community in Jharkhand organised a kissing contest for couples during a two-day fair. The competition was allegedly organised to arrest the increasing number of divorces in the tribal society. However, the moral brigade on social media lost its marbles on this public display of affection (PDA), when they got to know about it.


Such open display of affection is certainly a 'threat' to the moral fabric of our society. A couple, married or not should not indulge into public display of affection because that is so 'against our culture'. Before you know they will be having 'sex in public places'. Better nip it in the bud and forbid every couple from even glancing in each other's direction.

But what is it about public display of affection that makes us so uncomfortable?

There was a time in our country, when partners holding hands in public, or couples talking to each other before marriage were branded shameless. In hinterlands, the local culture still does not allow a man and a woman to show affection towards each other regardless of their marital status. Hence for people from small towns and villages, the openness shown in expression of affection in public comes as a cultural shock.

But even the most educated and cultured among the society have mixed thoughts about public display of affection. The question for them is, where does one draw the line between PDA and obscenity?

In times where distances and lifestyles are making it difficult for lovers to spend time with each other, should we encourage lovers who make out openly in gardens or cinema halls? Or should we applaud when police round-up couples on valentine’s day in parks, and beats them up on accounts of gross indecency?

Every person has a different stand on this issue. For some, the ability to express love for each other is a part of their freedom of expression. What is the point of being in love, if you have to hide it from the world, they ask. For those with family and children, it becomes an awkward situation to deal with PDA, especially the intimate kind.


Public display of affection and sexualised display of affection are two different things.

It is complicated to demarcate love from passion. But this demarcation is the key to find a balance, which both sides in this discussion are looking for.

Open expression of love is a tightrope to walk on. PDA might give lovers a sense of liberation and thrill they want in their relationship, but they also need to respect the sanctity of a place and the situation they are putting others in. Similarly, we the public also need to increase our tolerance levels.

Many people are finding strength from this freedom to express love, and are coming out of the closet to address their sexuality and gender preferences.

By banning PDA, we might end up backing the moral brigades, who want to ban PDA in the name of public indecency.

We should remember that we are a country with a history of liberal culture. All we need to do is to create an awareness in couples. We should not let any conservative section of the society stronghold us into shunning PDA entirely.


The moral fabric of our country is under a greater threat from our tendency to flex our morality according to our convenience. We definitely want to teach our kids that everyone in this country gets to choose, according to their sensibilities.

Also Read: Why Women Want Freedom From Society and Labels?

Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are author’s own.

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