I am going to speaking about “Public Display of Affection” in India.

I am going to be telling you the brutal truth of what happens in India during valentines day. It may come as a shock and hard to read but the truth is something you cannot run away from, but just have to come to terms with.

I came across this article to see if anything has changed in the many years I haven’t been home. Especially on the day of love – valentines day, because I have always grown up with the notion of never showing any form of PDA with the opposite sex.

It has always been frowned upon, even to the extent that if you were to hug the opposite sex in a public environment( even it being a friendly notion) you would instantly be branded as “loose”, and get dirty looks from passersby. It was not okay, and it’s something as a woman who has grown up in India had to learn to live with and get accustomed to.

Now what I can confirm that in certain parts especially the big cities in India, society eventually is becoming more accepting. Though it’s an actual offence, and is PUNISHABLE by LAW.

That is right you read correctly :

Section 294 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). Section 294 of the IPC states:

Whoever, to the annoyance of others,
(a) does any obscene act in any public place, or
(b) sings,  recites or utters any obscene songs, ballad or word, in or near any  public place, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description  for a term which may extend to three months, or with fine, or with  both.

How messed up can a scenario be that it is not okay to even hug your wife in public ?! In cities like Delhi, you hear stories of police using this law to create havoc and mis-use it.

Since I never really was allowed to conduct my own research in India, I came across an interview article online that says “Let’s make love illegal”, in The Hindu newspaper.

An author named Jane De Suza was conducting a POLL on how people plan to celebrate valentines. She had not even asked about PDA! ( This question was asked to a man.)

His Reply-

Celebrate it? How dare you? Why should I celebrate it? It is a waste of one full day. It is a call to immoral behaviour. All these boys and girls running around together, with roses and whatnots, acting like Padmavati. We should ban it all. The movies, the roses, the running around, the day. Best of all, just ban love.

So you think people should not be allowed to hug or laugh in public?

Send them home! Thankfully, some sensible moral police are going around beating up these hand-holders in parks. At least, somebody is displaying decent behaviour.


As I read on I was baffled. I knew the situation was bad but I’m just used to living in my own bubble. It baffles me each time I am reminded of it. I think that the factor of PDA not being allowed in in India is a factor of why my parents are the way they are. They’re trying to protect me.

I am currently in a transitional period in relation to my art work. My work is currently looking at the relationship with my boyfriend and the fact that it has been hidden from my parents for so long. It’s looking at the rebellious side of a “forbidden” love.


By Esra Vazirally