Ayodhya Man Heckled, Harassed For Kissing His Wife; Why Is Indian Society Against PDA?

Indian society against PDA, man attacked for kissing his wife
Yesterday, a video of a couple bathing in the Sarayu river of Ayodhya went viral. And do you know the reason behind it? The couple were ‘caught’ kissing each other while bathing. Other people in and around the river thrashed, slapped and abused the husband for kissing his wife in public space. Especially in a holy space like Ayodhya.  Terming the act as vulgar, people even misbehaved with the wife who was trying to protect her husband.

This incident reminds me of the uncles and aunties with scrutinising eyes who scold and shame couples who display affection in public. I have witnessed couples’ PDAs many times but I have equally seen how people judge those couples. If the couple is married, people say that why can’t the couple control themselves until they reach their homes. And if the couple is unmarried, then they are shamed for doing ‘vulgar’ things out of wedlock and certainly without the family’s permission. Such people are labelled as western trash who are destroying the traditions of our country.

But why this hate against PDAs? Why is Indian society unacceptable towards two people getting intimate consensually in public?

Indian Society Against PDA

The major reason is the taboo around sexual activities. In India, sex talk is always brushed under carpet as something that is non-existent. Sex or knowledge about sex is considered a matter of closed rooms with no presence or interference from the outsiders. And this is why parents shrug off their responsibility of teaching their kids about sex.

The taboo that sex happens in closed rooms makes it a seditious activity if done in public. People who wear the curtains of taboo are just not ready to witness two people getting intimate. The violation of taboo and hence the tradition enrage people so much that they start interfering and controlling the personal space of couples.

But dear society, which culture are you trying to preserve? The culture which worships the ‘lingas’ of God? The culture which wrote Kamasutra? The culture which is celebrated by worshipping erotic sculptures in sex temples?

Although my analysis is limited to Hindu culture, it cannot be denied that sex or public display of intimacy is a part of our culture. Even Bollywood movies that we are so crazy for are byproducts of our culture and are known for propagating PDAs intensively. So using traditions as weapons to threaten the freedom of couples must stop.

Moreover, we need to scan what we understand as scandalous. In India, the disrobing of Draupadi was not questioned but a man kissing his female partner is frowned upon. In India, people are lynched for consensually kissing their partners or holding their hands. But rarely does that swiftness and action appear when a man rapes, stalks or eve-teases a woman.

Why this hypocrisy? Why can’t we understand that PDA is a matter of consent, privacy and freedom of couples? Why is it that a person in our country is free to rape and even masturbate publicly but not kiss consensually? Why do we keep villainising PDAs as termites of tradition but not sexual harassment?

Let us understand that getting intimate in public is vulgar only when it is not consensual. Just because we haven’t normalised speaking up about our sexual needs and sexuality, it doesn’t mean we judge others who do. Dictating a person on how they should express their love is not our right. We can rather close our eyes if we don’t want to see romance in public. But yes, we do have the duty to slam those who express love non-consensually.

The views expressed are the author’s own.

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