Richard Gere’s Scandalous Smooch

How can the country that gave the world the Kama Sutra be so prudish? It’s a longstanding cliché to note that India has produced both the world’s most famous guide to love and erotic pleasure and some of the most conservative social rules this side of Saudi Arabia on such questions as kissing in public. That paradox was on display once again this week in the firestorm that swept India following a seemingly innocuous — and obviously staged — celebrity kiss on the cheek at an AIDS-awareness event.