Bengaluru: Moral policing has no place in a modern society. That is indisputable. However, the Kiss of Love campaign, which created a stir in Kerala before it made its way to Bengaluru, has received a lukewarm response at best. It’s not for the reason that first springs to mind, though. The city’s youngsters, most of whom come here from different parts of the country on work, say Bengaluru is a breath of fresh air. In a city where freedom and tolerance are principles people actually live by, fighting against moral policing seems somewhat irrelevant.
Drumming up a controversy with no real cause will only invite unnecessary trouble. 23-year-old Rachita Taneja, who championed the Bengaluru event, hasn’t found much support even among the youth, who don’t judge public displays of affection. At the invitation of Deccan Chronicle, three professionals – Prateek Das, Somanath Ghosh and Disha Oberoi question the relevance of smoochfest in Bengaluru, which has accepted cross cultures with open arms.
“Bengaluru might not be as literate as Kerala, but the awareness among Bengalureans is much superior. During my stay in the city for the last two-and-half years, I have never heard my friends or relatives complain of moral policing acts,” begins Das, an HR executive.Emphasising Das’ point, Ghosh can’t understand the need to protest moral policing in a city like Bengaluru either. “Isn’t this the same campaign which happened in Delhi?” So it’s coming to Bengaluru. But why? Taking a moment to ponder the situation, he said, “I have studied in Delhi and I am working in Bengaluru. Somehow, the idea behind having such a campaign in Bengaluru seems skewed. Personally, having lived in an unsafe city before, Bengaluru is a fresh breath of air. I don’t think we need a campaign to prove that moral policing is discouraged.
Why should we, when it doesn’t exist?”Echoing his views, Das says people’s perceptions of social campaigns and their willingness to extend their support to social causes depends on the rigors of one’s daily routines. “My concerns about Bengaluru are traffic and pollution. I would associate myself with campaigns that are trying to fight against these larger
concerns, as opposed to moral policing which is not a predominant problem. In Maharashtra, moral policing is followed boisterously.
The relevance of these campaigns differs from cities to cities. Doesn’t it?”A micro-focus won’t do, feels Disha Oberoi. “Politically backed moral policing happened in Mangalore a few years ago and these groups are still at large in the area. Campaigns play a crucial role in shrinking the mileage given to these politically ‘charged’ groups,” she says. Uniformly, they conclude that standing up for a social cause is important and Ms Taneja’s intentions are commendable.
Prevention is better than cure. A campaign in Bengaluru, feels Ghosh, is a good way to ward off potential moral police. “This could serve as a message to activist wings that are misusing their power. For instance, some right wing groups are already threatening the organisers of ‘Kiss of Love’. Such campaigns need to be strengthened in the interest of the future, too, even if no real problem exists today.”
The conversation concludes with mixed signals. “We are definitely in support of the campaign and the cause,” they said. But if it comes to endorsing the campaign in Bengaluru, where it really isn’t a crying need, then their answer is no.