You gotta be friggin kidding me! They are rioting for this? A hug and a peck on the cheek? Is this all that it takes for the "protectors of Indian culture" to take to the streets?
Update : Video of hug/kiss from Youtube below. I still don't see what the big deal is. Also like Sachin pointed out in the comments and if any of you look at a Bollywood music video on youtube, you may find what Gere did to be pretty tame. But then again my opinion is just that an opinion of some guy with a blog.
From the Yahoo News link..
Angry crowds in several Indian cities burned effigies of Richard Gere on
Monday after he swept a popular Bollywood actress into his arms and kissed her
several times during an AIDS-awareness event.
Photographs of the 57-year-old actor embracing Shilpa Shetty and
kissing her on the cheek at an HIV/AIDS awareness event in New Delhi were
splashed across Monday's front pages in India — a country where sex and public
displays of affection are largely taboo.
In Mumbai, members of the
right-wing Hindu nationalist group Shiv Sena beat burning effigies of Gere with
sticks and set fire to glamorous shots of Shetty.
Similar protests broke
out in other cities, including Varanasi, Hinduism's holiest city, and in the
northern town of Meerut, where crowds chanted "Down with Shilpa Shetty!"
The two appeared at a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday to
highlight the HIV/AIDS epidemic among India's truck drivers. In front of a
cheering crowd, Gere kissed the giggling Shetty on the hand, then kissed her on
both cheeks before bending her in a full embrace to kiss her cheek again.
The spokesman for Hindu nationalist party Bharatiya Janata Party
condemned the kiss.
"Such a public display is not part of Indian tradition,"
said Prakash Javadekar, according to PTI.
Shetty, already well-known in
India, became an international star after her appearance on the British reality
show "Celebrity Big Brother" — another controversial public appearance. A fellow
contestant, Jade Goody, sparked international headlines by making allegedly
racist comments to Shetty. Mobs took to the streets of India to denounce Goody,
and Shetty went on to win the competition.
Somebody tell that Hindu nationalist party spokesman to go look at the erotic temple carvings at the sun temple in Konark. That is a part of the Indian culture too, what next? Covering them up? I love how these roaches crawl out of the dark at times like this.
Have I said how much I dislike religious nutjobs no matter what their flavor is? The Shiv Sena are just a bunch of neo fascists .. of the Hindu brand.
Do these people even consider that maybe talking about sex and sex education might help dealing with the crisis that India has with the highest number of HIV cases (5.2 million)? Or how about doing something about the declining number of women to men as seen by the adult sex ratio? Or the myriad social and economic issues that India faces?
No! But these folks wanna get their knickers in a twist over an embrace and a kiss on the cheek?
This has been your first public version of my daily rant. Ignore this fool!