Author: -Deepansh Shukla
In a sample size of 80 people where 40 were old aged people from age 35-70 and the other 40 varied from the age of 18-25. I conducted telephonic and physical interviews asking, is ‘Public Display of Affection’ justified? A whopping 100% of old aged people said that it is wrong and 36 out of 40 young age people concluded it is wrong, substantiating it with different reasonings. Seven of them said the cultural ethos of India is a problem if they, would have witnessed the same in Europe or the USA. They would not have any problem with PDA although in India it is wrong. Ten of the rest 33 concluded it makes them uncomfortable hence, should not show affection in public. Five of them said if with the family, they see an act of affection in public, they would be uncomfortable, and if alone do not have any problem from a stunt of affection in public. The rest who were against the PDA had other reasons. The rest four of them agreed that affection in public is justified as it is their right to express themselves in public. After this analysis, the question to be answered is, does ‘Public Display of Affection’ has a future in India?
If we look at the past, Kama Sutra, Sutra means thread and Kama means desire, a practice, a book which talks about desires and, the ways to fulfill it, the text extensively talks about different ways of kissing. The word kiss is not directly referred to but is termed, as drinking the moisture of the lips. In Europe with the advent of Christianity, kiss in public was strictly condemned as the bible promoted the “kiss of charity”. Judas’ betrayal to Jesus was by a kiss of Jesus’s neck which, in Europe was a reason for an err towards public kissing. Weddings were the only occasion when a couple could kiss in public. If we look at Europe in Roman times, the chastity of the women was identified, as something important. Hence, PDA was not much effective, back then. By the 1800s to kiss a woman on the cheek was not accepted in the areas of Europe and America back then India used to be a colony and, PDA was not an issue of discussion rather freedom was. By the 1900s in England, unmarried women were not even allowed to talk to men. It is, in the 20th century, America and Europe became a symbol of modernism. As the freedom movement and women’s rights movement grew, also the presence of Hollywood and the kissing scenes in the movies revolutionized the concept of public display of affection. Today in countries like the USA, Spain, Italy public display of affection is common and, people there do not consider it to be a harm to the culture or values. What are the reasons why India even after witnessing so much development could not readily accept PDA? And why a whopping number of people still believe it to be wrong? Following are some of the reasons why PDA does not have significance in India-
- Culture- India is a land of various religions, castes, races, etc. The cultural ethos in India is of such a way that here people believe that kissing and other sexual activities to show love is personal and is not compatible to be done in public.
- Affect on Children- As per the data, 34.3% of India’s population is below 15 and, 9.7% population is between the age of 15-19. And 34.3% of 1.32 billion is not a small number, keeping that in mind people in India worry that PDA will affect the kids hence it is not justified to carry out an act of affection in public.
- The communication gap between the parents and the children- In India, sex education is not a topic that is much discussed, in India, sex education is lacking, which becomes a source of awkwardness. If parents and the children view an act of affection in public, they become awkward. Hence people do not support the idea of PDA in India.
- A new idea- PDA in the Indian context is fairly new, as India earned its independence in 1947. It adopted new ideas slowly but also grew more of its indigenous culture. In 2007, Shilpa Shetty’s effigies were burnt as a sign of protest, as she and a Hollywood actor publicly engaged in a sexually provocative manner. The reason for that happening in India are we being culturally reserved do not embrace such alien ideas easily.
- Meme Culture and The Social Media- Meme culture in today’s time tends to capture those who show an act of affection in public, joking out on them. These kinds of clips even go viral on social media. It acts as a source of erring against the PDA in India.
These are a few of the reasons out of many other reasons for which people do not publicly embrace the idea of PDA in India. The question remains unanswered, does PDA has a future in India?
Answering that, Section 294(A) of the Indian Penal Code says- “Whoever, to the annoyance of others does any obscene act in any public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with both”. Quoting this article substantiated with a growing gap between public and private life, shortly which, is 10 to 15 years there is no chance for PDA to have a bright future in India. Although, if India sees a cultural revolution, PDA might find a place in Indian culture, or else it does not have a bright future in India. The current generation which is seemed to be flexible does seem to consider PDA still, does not feel PDA has a future in India. The past does not seem to affect the present. As the past text seem to be liberal, rather, the present is shaped by the availability of ideas in the current days.
As per my opinion, in India, hugging and kissing on hands in public works well with me but a more intimidating act in the public seems to be a bad idea for me. I would not care as a layman about an act of affection in the public but as an aspiring law student and a politician, I tend to look at different strata of society. I do not have an err with PDA even if someone wants to increase its base. I’ll be the one to support the act. But would it be a good idea? As 21% of India’s population is below the poverty line and would a topic of affection something, they will hold in high esteem when they cannot even earn money for two times of a meal? Other topics if resolved and education is given priority in India, there are chances for PDA to be successful in India.
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