A Brief History of the Free to Love Campaign

01 April 2015
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ABOUT THE STORY Is India a free country? A serious consideration yields an extraordinary variety of answers. In Ranjith Jayaram’s story, an ambitious and idealistic couple attempt to question one of the principal contradictions of Indian democracy—that adults are thought to be responsible enough to choose their political representatives, but not to choose their own life partner.

They start a social movement called the “Free to Love Campaign,” aiming to give practical support to adults who want to be with each other but face dissuasion or hostility from their families. The campaign becomes so popular that it soon mushrooms (somewhat like the “India Against Corruption” campaign) into an actual political party—one with a potentially huge base, since its programme involves both a universal emotion largely ignored in political agendas, and identity politics of a new kind: the right to assert one’s identity as a person and a political being by responding positively to the promptings of love.

As the narrative—ostensibly revolving around finding the right candidates for an upcoming election—progresses, we realise that two stories are progressing in parallel: one exploring love in Indian society, the other recording what is happening between two people devoted to the first cause. In trying to convince more than a billion Indians of their right to love, will the protagonists end up seeing the electorate’s response as a referendum on their own love story?

Ranjith Jayaram Ranjith Jayaram lives in California with his wife and daughter, and works as a product manager at Google.

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