Images from Kiss of Love Gathering in Delhi: Ishan Tankha

Guest Post by ISHAN TANKHA

Every time my girlfriend puts her arms around me while we are out  on our terrace i end up first doing a quick scan of the windows that look down at us to see if we are visible to anyone, it’s almost  an instinctive reaction. Mind you, one that doesn’t win me much affection from her ,understandably! It’s not that I care but I do notice them looking, and it’s always disapproving. Unfortunately, It’s not just my neighbours.

After the ‘Kiss of Love ‘ protests in Kochi and Kolkota it was Delhi’s turn and the few hundred who turned up to stand up for their right to not be morally policed did a fantastic job countering the right wing hooligans, for whom showing love or affection to one of our choosing is ‘immoral’.  The police spent it’s time not allowing the peaceful protesters from marching to the RSS headquarters, their intended destination, pushing and shoving them.  While pleading with, instead of arresting those who threatened and abused with impunity.

It’s not over of course, if it’s not a skirt wearing girl being stopped from entering a building or a cafe being trashed, there will be another reason to collect and be heard.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll give my neighbours a matinee to gawk at.Meanwhile, here are some pictures I took at the Kiss of Love gathering in Jhandewalan, Delhi.


Ishan Tankha is an independent photographer based in Delhi

10 thoughts on “Images from Kiss of Love Gathering in Delhi: Ishan Tankha”

    1. How sick can minds like yours get that you cannot even bear to read the full report? You seem to think that since this is a case of a Muslim girl and a Hindu boy, Kafila will be opposed. Pathetic, is all I can say, for this idea of ‘their girls’ and ‘our girls’ is only there in your sick patriarchal head. For us every woman has the right to choose her partner without interference by the likes of you – be they Muslim or Hindu.The marriage was in fact conducted with people like us – ‘sickular, Leftists, Hindutva hating’ – from the CPI(M) standing guard while the marriage took place. For all our differences with the CPI(M) on other issues, we certainly stand by them on all matter such as these – against the Raghus of both communities.

  1. @ Aditya Nigam, for all your posturings, you people lack the spine to stand up to Islamic fundamentalism. You can only show your courage to the “Sanghies”!!

    1. Avinash K,

      Kafila is resolutely opposed to Muslim fundamentalists as much as it is opposed to Hindu Fundamentalists. We have had articles before, attacking the politics of the MIM, arguing sharply against those Muslim Fundamentalists who assailed Taslima Nasrin and Salman Rushdie. The problem with you Hindu Fundamentalists is that you are so obsessed with yourselves that you think we have no time for people other than you. Frankly, there is absolutely no difference between morons like you and the idiots who issue fatwas on any and every issue.

  2. @ Aditya Nigam, why don’t you write an article on Kafila in support of the couple and show your solidarity with them?

  3. avinashk1975 alias Raghu (@raghu500000) – we know you are the same hindutvavaadi troll. You come in with the same mindless comment in different names, to mislead readers into thinking there are many of you out there. Your point has been adequately answered by us, and you are unworthy of any further attention.

  4. Putting up an important eyewitness account/comment sent to us by ANUBHAV PRADHAN, Research Scholar at Jamia Milia Islamia,

    “Much has been said about the ‘Kiss of Love’ events organised in Kochi and Kolkata, and much, similarly, will be said about the one which was organised in Delhi. But before this last becomes submerged in the exchange of commendations and condemnations, and of course under the weight of more breaking breaking news, and just in case nobody offers comment instead of the informed socio-historical analyses that usually comes through after such events, as a participant I feel it will be pertinent to present the following pointers before the general public:

    1. First, the Delhi event was, by all accounts, spontaneous. I’m not equipped enough to know how much planning went in the Kochi and the Kolkata ones, but the Facebook page for the Delhi event came up on Wednesday, 5th November, three days before the event. My knowledge of this is purely on the basis of when a friend invited me to the event; and she tells me that she was invited the day it was made. At 3:30 PM, my partner and I were amongst the first few people to reach Jhandewalan metro station on Saturday, and seeing a motley group of not more than six-seven persons, excluding, of course, an equal number of media persons, I was not surprised; in my past experience of such protests, while an overwhelming number commit on the internet, extremely few make it on ground. That eventually this group of six-seven persons welled up to, as mainstream newspapers report, close to three hundred persons, is a very strong indicator of the degree of concern, and rage, felt by a cross-section of persons, and not just students, regarding the issue at hand.
    2. Yes, the protest could not reach the RSS office, and yes, it was chaotic and unorganised, but that, I believe, is the point to note. It could not reach the venue because, initially, the Delhi Police made a human chain barricading the direct road from Jhandewalan metro station to the RSS office; soon thereafter, reports came that Section 144 of the Indian Penal Code had been imposed upon the area and when later we tried to reach the RSS office by Rani Jhansi Road, we found the entry into the Deshbandhu Gupta road barricaded and were further thrown into disarray. A few persons, all of them unknown to me, were at the forefront of the effort and kept trying to give shape and coherence to the gathering, but it was still majorly unorganised: many people present did not know each other, and despite being strangers in a culture paranoid about strangeness they held hands and helped each other. Similarly, many of those present were not from a single political party, group or affiliation, and that for most persons present being there was a personal investment in a larger issue they feel strongly concerned about.
    3. The issue, of course, seems obvious and clear, though unsurprisingly it has been narrowed into just kissing: as Ms. Zaheer, one of the organisers, announced to the media, and as many others around me opined, the protest was not about claiming the right to kiss in public. It was, instead, about assertively interrogating, and rejecting, the extra-constitutional and vitriolic moral, ethical, gender and sexual policing that has been exercised across the length and breadth of this nation in the past decade or so. The brief introduction on the Delhi event’s Facebook page declares as much. The kissing, or hugging, seemed for the most symbolic; very few of those present kissed or hugged – my partner and I were too awkward to do either. The larger point, which the so-called Hindu Sena chaps did not seem willing to discuss nor which many in the media and on social networking seem concerned about, is not about kissing in public or public display of affection: it’s about encroachments to the right to self-determination, to debate, dissent and interrogation, which are supposed to be the hallmarks of our democratic nation. Regardless of whether or not we’re the land of the Kamasutra or of Khajuraho or of Love Jihad or forced conversion or entrenched bisexuality, regardless of what our sanskriti, tehzeeb, sabhyata, culture was or is, we are now – have been for some time now – a secular, democratic republic with a constitutionally provided legal apparatus to decide what is right or wrong. For better or for worse, we have a state apparatus to police us, so nobody has the right to usurp this prerogative in any violent or non-violent manner. Let us be open to discuss things we do not agree about with each other, let us question the state when it implements laws we do not agree with or when it fails to effect changes we feel are necessary, but let us not be coercive and violent. Instead of calling one and all to start kissing in public spaces, yesterday’s gathering was a spontaneous voicing of these desires and concerns.
    4. Thirdly, let us not forget that youth will have its due, and must be allowed to be deliberately cheeky, naughty and frivolous – and not be condemned and punished for being so. We are, of course, a very self-consciously serious nation, touchy to the core, but I do believe that most of us have been, and will be, guilty of some act of indiscretion, some frivolity, some recklessness in words or deeds which disturbs the pace of settled life. Yes, the event was called ‘Kiss of Love’, and yes it’s a somewhat reckless and cheeky way of rejecting moral policing, but are we really so serious about ourselves that we cannot tolerate a little bit of cheekiness? A few kisses, hugs and cheeky and sentimental Bollywood songs which all sort of respectable people consider classics (for example, “Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karenge” and “Pyaar Kiya Toh Darna Kya”) were all that the protest threw at Indian culture, whatever it might be. Since we seem amazingly capable at tolerating all sorts of slapstick, gender and sexual based humour in our TV and our movies, since we seem more or less okay with all sorts of communal, gender, sexual and caste violence in our national and personal lives, we should tolerate a few angry people kissing and singing silly songs by a road as a political statement. All sorts of people, particularly young ones, wish to have fun, and if they do it in a way which doesn’t bodily harm anybody else or radically strike at the root of our supposed national identity, then we needn’t get our knickers in a twist.

    Of course, as I conclude this comment, I feel amused at the necessity I feel of asserting that I am not a paid lackey of foreign organisations, governmental or not, that I am not a part of any left-leaning or communist organisation and that I do not know any of the organisers. Neither me nor my partner were paid to come for the protest and while we may always remain too awkward to kiss in public even to give a political statement, we were happy to register our concern about extra-constitutional moral, ethical, gender and sexual policing, and will continue doing so as part realisation of our shared dream and desire for an inclusive and tolerant India.”

  5. I think but .ye sab khuleaam karna galat .if i there hum bhi wahi karte .i suport team kafila.
    mai to bus suggested de rha hu .hindu muslim kya hai sabhi jatiyo ko ko mai support karta hu and aange bhi karta rahunga.mai chahtu kisi me bhed bhav ki bhavna na rhe.log sadiya karte hai apne cost ko dekhakar .ye sab pandito ka banaya huaa hai.agar ye log sudhar jaye to india me bhed bhav ke mamle me sudhar jayega.go to hell .am right say

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