When it comes to individual freedoms and sexual autonomy, Kerala continues to set shocking standards. It was weird enough that a school suspended two students for just hugging. Though told it was just a normal hug, they would not be placated, even prying into private social media accounts and trying to shame the teens, calling the boy “a bull in heat”. The school’s paranoia was then taken by the Kerala high court, which seemed to think nothing of the right to privacy, but cared actually about the school’s image. If lofty institutional reputations can be rocked by a non-dangerous hug, then there can’t be much to defend. Hug isn’t dangerous it is a way to express affection and care.
Think about the terror if there had actually been heavy hormones involved. But when we talk about sexual freedom, Kerala has not just recently tipped over into illiberalism. It is at least a century old, and it is bone-deep. Despite the economic and educational achievement of Malayali women, they are forced to live by an oppressive patriarchal script.
This distorts the relationship between men and women, denies them the probability of equality and friendship. The very idea of individualism is deeply gendered in Kerala, with strict social control over feminine propriety. It is only now that a wider questioning has started, whether it was the kiss of love protests or the women’s collective in the film industry, with a new generation that denies accepting these shackles. It is high time that the society come up with some sensible thinking practices. The new generations is all set to push over the barricades of societal norms but there are many hurdles in the way. Hope the upcoming time see more people with great understanding and open minded thinking. We wish all the luck to the generation. More power to this resistance.