The Hush Post: It’s not Paris, or Montreal, it is Dumaria a small village in tribal Jharkhand and also a venue to a kissing competition. Couples smooched or stayed lip-locked as thousands screamed and laughed cheering the couples in what is being termed a first of its kind in India. Simon Marandi, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) legislator organised a rare competition, he thought, would put a check on growing divorce cases. He organised a kissing competition between married couples in public. He says, ‘kissing was always cherished as a sport to celebrate love and romance between married couples.’ About 20-odd tribal couples pressed their lips against each other in the presence of thousands of people in Dumaria village about 321 km from state capital Ranchi.

“Tribals are basically innocent and illiterate. Due to which, the family system is weakening. To make them aware of our social structure and responsibility towards the family, the idea of a kissing competition was conceived,” said Marandi, who is an MLA from Littipara assembly seat. Such competitions can strengthen the relationship between the spouses in our community.

Marandi has been organising an annual fair, known as Dumaria Mela, in his native village for the last 37 years where hordes of events, including tribal dance, archery and athletics are organised to entertain villagers. The two-day fair started on Friday and concluded on Saturday evening. The kissing competition was added for the first time. Earlier, the village competition was organised in a smaller space but this year it was held in a football ground where thousands of people from other villagers also took part.

According to the 2011 Census report, Dumaria’s average literacy rate is only 25 per cent, which is lower than the state average of 66 per cent. In the village, male literacy stands at 33 per cent while female literacy is 16 per cent.

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