Lovers in India
After several tiresome full days of walking the busy streets of Kolkata, I visited the Victoria Memorial, which is surrounded by a few parks. Four months in India and I had not once witnessed a single public display of affection. But today was Valentine’s Day and what I found were lovers everywhere. Lovers kissing in the bushes, lovers under trees, umbrellas and scarves, all hiding to mask their identity. Fear of being recognized was obvious within this conservative culture, where upwards of 80% of marriages are still arranged and it is prohibited to date out of wedlock. Here it seemed there was as much energy spent on concealing as there was on the actual love stuff.
As a traditional country, India does not welcome public displays of affection. Culturally, only a woman's son can touch her, and her husband only in private. Kissing and hugging are out of the question. In India you may see two men holding each other's hands or two women embrace each other with a kiss on the cheek. Please, do not confuse these actions with being homosexual. In Indian customs and culture, this means these two people are the best of friends.Under the Indian Penal Code, causing annoyance to others through "obscene acts" is a criminal offence with a punishment of imprisonment up to 3 months or a fine.
The Story of "Lovers in India" was exhibited at Malmo Fotobienal 2015 in Sweden.