When Af­fec­tion Needs Hand-Hold­ing

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

Much is be­ing made of pub­lic hand-hold­ing — or lack of it — these days in the in­ter­na­tional area. The Oba­mas do it all the time, the Clin­tons very rarely, and as for the Trumps, the new US Pres­i­dent ap­peared to be more at ease hold­ing the Bri­tish prime min­is­ter’s man­i­cured hand than his own soigné spouse’s. You have got to hand it to the pop psy­chol­o­gists, though, who have weighed in on this phe­nom­e­non by de­cree­ing that sup­pos­edly de­mure hand-hold­ing now packs a more pow­er­ful punch than a bear hug, and cer­tainly more than an air-kissed mwah when it comes to com­mu­ni­cat­ing af­fec­tion. Any­thing more touchy-feely — es­pe­cially some of the more bawdy ki­nesics (in)fa­mously con­tem­plated by pre-presidential Trump — is a def­i­nite no-no. In­dian politi­cians, how­ever, re­main re­mark­ably cir­cum­spect when it comes to pub­lic dis­play of af­fec­tion even as open demon­stra­tions of ar­dour are in­creas­ingly com­mon not only in pop­u­lar cin­ema and the celebrity cir­cuit but also among or­di­nary peo­ple. While the older gen­er­a­tion of ne­tas may be chary of such dis­play when it comes to their spouses, it is cu­ri­ous that even the younger lot — mar­ried or not — still hew to tra­di­tional In­dian norms of de­port­ment. Where In­dia di­verges from the western mores, of course, is that it im­poses no cul­tural bar on peo­ple of the same sex hold­ing hands.

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