If you’re from a South Asian family, chances are you’ve never seen your parents kiss. In fact, you’ve probably never seen a single one of your older relatives in relationships kiss. It doesn’t just stop there. Kollywood and Bollywood movies dance around kissing scenes, where the characters come oh-so-close, but just when their lips are about to touch, they’ll break out into a dance routine. This no-no attitude towards kissing in public is something that also plays into policing in India.
Today, couples from Kerala organized a Facebook event to kiss in public to protest the alleged harassment they face from India’s religious ‘moral police,’ who feel that kissing in public goes against Indian culture – and consider it an act that is a Western import.
In light of this protest, The Wall Street Journal recently published an article exploring the history of the kiss, which brings it right back to India. Here’s an excerpt from their post:
“Although no one can say for certain where kissing comes from, some researchers who have looked at its origin and spread, trace it back to India.
The earliest reference to kissing-like behavior comes from the Vedas, Sanskrit scriptures that informed Hinduism, Buddhism and the Jain religion, around 3,500 years ago, according to Vaughn Bryant, an anthropologist at Texas A&M University who specializes in the history of the kiss.
Around half a century later, affectionate mouth-to-mouth kissing was first described in the Hindu epic, the “Mahabharata”.
From India, academics who have studied it say, kissing spread slowly to other parts of the world after Alexander the Great and his army conquered parts of Punjab in northern India in 326 B.C.
Further proof that India was the birthplace of the kiss, Mr. Bryant said, is the origin of the word itself. He points out that in ancient India, “busa” or “bosa” were used to refer to kissing and from these early words, the Latin term for kiss ”basium” and the Old English words “ba” and “buss” are derived. Meanwhile, the root of the English word we use today – “kiss” – stems from “kus” which was used in northern India….”
What are your thoughts about South Asians’ attitude towards kissing in public? Like/dislike? Comment below!
You can read the full article published by The Wall Street Journal here.
Featured image sourced from a scene from the movie ‘Bobby’ starring Rishi Kapoor and Dimple Kapadia- from the TimesofIndia.