Now An “Unsuitable Kiss”. Aren’t We Going Too Far with This “Love Jihad” Obsession?

Social Commentary

Now An “Unsuitable Kiss”. Aren’t We Going Too Far with This “Love Jihad” Obsession?

Illustration: Arati Gujar

Another day, another boycott. This time around, it is Netflix’s A Suitable Boy that has drawn the ire of the Indian moral police. A complaint has been registered against the producers of the series for shooting kissing scenes between a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy against the backdrop of a temple.

The Madhya Pradesh police have filed an FIR against Netflix for allegedly hurting religious sentiments. Home Minister Dr Narottam Mishra said, “An FIR has been registered under Section 295 A of the IPC against Monika Shergill and Ambika Khurana.” Shergill is the vice president, content, at Netflix and Khurana is the director of  public policies.

Business may be down during the lockdown, but the outrage industry is flourishing.

Mishra called the scenes objectionable in a tweet on Sunday. “A man kissing in a temple while a bhajan is sung in the background hurts sentiments,’’ Mishra said, adding that he has asked police officials to examine the action that can be taken against the director and producer.

A complaint was filed by BJP youth leader Gaurav Tiwari with the Rewa Police Saturday. In his complaint, Tiwari has highlighted several kissing scenes, including one with a shivling in the backdrop. He has pointed out that it was shot in the Maheshwar Temple on the banks of the Narmada river.

Tiwari also linked the kissing scenes between a Hindu girl and Muslim boy with the phenomenon of “love jihad”. “Our government is bringing a strict law against love jihad,” he said in his complaint.

The Superintendent of Police of the Rewa district, Rakesh Singh, told ThePrint, “The matter is being examined. It will depend on the DPO’s opinion whether a case is made out and under what sections.”

#BoycottNetflix started trending on Twitter as a targeted campaign has been launched against the platform and the show. However, many have criticised this absurd move to go after a web show.

Some users made references to the Khajuraho temple and how sexuality was not considered taboo but celebrated in ancient India.

Many pointed out that they don’t need the minister to protect Hinduism on their behalf, and that government servants should stick to delivering on governance.

A pandemic has gripped India severely. But our netas are obsessed with “love jihad”, a phenomenon as fictional as the Netflix show. To paraphrase Justice Chandrachud, if you don’t like it, don’t watch it.