Published: 30th October 2014

KOCHI: At a time when conservatives are mad enough to chew nails over  youngsters organising kiss fests to protest against moral policing in Kerala, it takes a Meena Kandaswamy to say that such fests are not  rebellious enough.

“It is veryprovocative so I am all support to them. But, the only sad thing is that they are not approaching it structurally,” said the noted poet, novelist and activist who sat down with ‘City Express’ in Kochi on Tuesday.

“They should go beyond this minor episode to critique the people who are  doing moral policing and question their ideology,” says Meena.


Read– Kerala Kiss of Love tp protest moral policing

On the question of conservative forces trying to impose moral policing, she  said this is happening not just in Kerala but all through India. “Why do they actually have a problem when young people mingle with each other ? BJP raises this issue in places where there is this mixed community. The propaganda of love jihad is another onelike this. They are trying to propogate communal disharmony because they don’t want any inter-religious mingling,” she said.

Meena is always known to go beyond the surface of issues. And, she wouldn’t attach a single narrative to interpret moral policing acts. “It’s not just Hindu-Muslim. It’s also upper class-lower caste and also deeply connected to the veryconservative idea of women; ideas like whether the women should be virginor there should be pre-marital sex or not,” she said.

The protests against moral policing emergingfrom Kerala which are not against any party is a kind of neutral protests. And it won’t do, she says.

“This whole idea of neutrality which young people prefer a lot is a problem,” said Meena.

“They are not against something or for something. If you are neutral you are just being silent and you are also taking a side,” she explained.

Going by her Twitter bio, Meena’s Kali kills, her Draupadi strips and her Sita climbs on a stranger’s lap. She would prefer to persuasively assert that Indian culture is not monolithic.

“The counter to BJP should not be just a protest. They should be veryideologically balanced counter in which we try to tell them this not ‘Bharatheeya’ culture. The Indian culture is veryopen,” she said.

“For instance Tamil culture is all abouta man and a woman running away from home that’s sangham poetry. The women have freedom of choice in this  culture. But, the whole monolithic idea of Indian culture projected by BJP, is basicially trying to control youngsters,” Meena said.

Meena is onewho could also see through why moral policing debate goes viral than other alarming issues, like say the standing protest of adivasis in Thiruvananthapuram.

“Young people don’t have any structural concern aboutsociety. Theirs is a veryknee-jerk creation. It is not that they are not completely denied their basic rights. They might be getting basic educationand all but at some point somebody is telling them they are not allowed to kiss somebody,” she said.

The telling that you don’t own your body, that there are so much of restrictions on who can do whatis the cause of these protests. Structural criticism would be to start attacking the system which generate such thoughts, said Meena.

What if the protest against moral policing continue to be skin deep ?

“In Malaysia when you get into the Metro they have this five rules that cannot be done inside in a Metro. Oneof them is ‘No Kissing’. May be you can see someone protesting against kissing in Kochi Metro in future” said Meena.