A judge recently threw out the case against a young, married couple who were picked up by Indian police for public kissing near a railway station. And apparently, such arrests aren't that uncommon.
As an article from the BBC explains, while India may be the source of the Kamasutra, it's still a culture that discourages public displays of affection. But Richard Gere and Nelson Mandela outraged public sensibilities when they gave Indian actresses spontaneous kisses; Bollywood films are notoriously chaste (apparently a tagline like
"99 slaps - 1 kiss" is racy), and while the most recent public kissing case may have been dismissed, an Israeli couple was recently fined for consummating their marriage with a kiss in Rajasthan.
As a result, of course, a kiss is considered far more titillating and erotic in India than in a culture where PDAs are standard practice. Says one commenter on the BBC website, "We Indians truly value a kiss, and maintain its importance by reserving some privacy for it. Unless love has privacy, its essence is lost." And while that's a pleasing sentiment, it doesn't really follow that, when practiced publicly, it should become something indecent and punishable. It's a case where respecting cultural relativism can clash with a natural suspicion of making sexuality - and private behaviors between men and women, for instance - something secret and hidden. And if nothing else, it seems very sad that a couple shouldn't be able to kiss in front of the Taj Mahal, monument to love that it is.