Indian Culture Doesn’t Ban Hugs: Here’s Proof!

It is moral policing that has banned hugs, and not Indian culture. Don’t get it? We explain it for you in memes.

4 min read
Indian mythology is proof that embrace is very much a part of the culture.

A boy and a girl from a private school in Thiruvananthapuram were both suspended for five months on account of – get this – hugging in public.

The school authorities claimed the “public display of affection” reportedly “hampered the reputation of the school”. Even more absurd is the fact that the Kerala High Court sided with the school’s decision.

Moral policing is here to stay in Indian society, plumbing new depths with each incident. Bollywood has often said – “ek ladka aur ek ladki kabhi dost nahi ho sakte (a boy and a girl can never be friends)” – and our politicians, teachers, parents and neighbours have swallowed it up and dutifully taken it on themselves to be the guardians of this ‘universal truth’.

Indian Culture Doesn’t Ban Hugs: Here’s Proof!
(Photo courtesy:

So they pass diktats on the appropriate length of a girl’s skirt, on a ‘no touch’ policy between all boys and girls, and the physical distance that they must maintain. There’s guidelines on where to meet, where not to; when to meet, when not to; do’s and don’ts on all forms of affection, on hand-holding, hugging, kissing, certainly on consensual adult intimacy, whether in private or public.

They maintain the right to censure, upbraid, abuse, maim and even kill those who don’t conform. But who gets to define what is ‘morally’ right, or what crosses the line? More importantly, why do they have the power to penalise a person, based on their take on what’s right and wrong?

Here’s a little primer on moral policing in India, and the big farce that it is.

Moral Policing 101

Moral policing is now sold as a practice that has been a part of ‘our culture’ through the centuries. Even before they hit puberty, boys and girls in our country are taught that if they get ‘too close’, they will bring shame to the family name, because log kya kahenge, obviously.

Indian Culture Doesn’t Ban Hugs: Here’s Proof!
(Photo courtesy:

How Society Expects You to Behave

Confused and ‘policed’ young Indians could very well ask how they could be expected to conform to the ultra-sanskaari ideals of the moral police, considering that attraction, be it of a romantic or platonic nature, is a natural process. But here’s how society expects them to behave.

Read 2:13PM #myfavoritememes

A post shared by Saher (@thepakistanimarthastewart) on

Or be a bit more vocal?


A post shared by Classical As Fuck By 9GAG (@classicalaf) on

Or better yet, make this your life’s anthem.

Indian Culture Doesn’t Ban Hugs: Here’s Proof!
(Photo courtesy: Pinterest)

‘Hugging’ a Part of Indian Culture?

The principal of the Kerala school in question had defended the grounds on which he had suspended the two students, by invoking good old ‘Indian culture’, basically arguing that sharing an intimate hug wasn’t part of the Indian culture. He also exploited the "log kya kahenge" line, saying parents of other students at the school fully approved of his actions.

Umm hello, have we forgotten the ancient sculptures found in the Ellora caves in Maharashtra, or at the Konark Sun Temple in Odisha, or at the Khajuraho Temple in Madhya Pradesh? The characters depicted in those ancient Indian sculptures seem to be quite fine with hugging...

Indian Culture Doesn’t Ban Hugs: Here’s Proof!
(Photo courtesy: Pinterest)

It appears as though Indian culture was quite okay, for centuries, with hugs – and lots more! So who are we to judge and penalise others who are consensually involved in an embrace, intimate or otherwise?

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