Don’t be surprised to see two men holding hands in India. In most European nations and in the USA, this public display of affection can be mistaken for being gay or lesbian but not in India. Here we don’t see it that way. Just because two men (or women) are holding hands or they have hands on other’s shoulders does not mean anything. They just happen to be friends and there is nothing sexual about the whole thing.
So, if you see men or women holding hands with each or showing similar forms of physical intimacy, it does not mean that they romantically involved in any way. It just happens that in some cultures such as India’s, its normal to show their affection by holding hands which might seem inappropriate to those belonging to other cultures.
In fact, in some countries particularly Arab, Africa and some parts of Asia, holding hands is a sign of friendship and/or a sign of respect.
This behaviour of social intimacy exists in all strata of Indian society from the poor and the uneducated in the villages, to the educated urban middle and even some upper classes. However, men in India from the villages are far more comfortable of showing affection to their male friends than their urban counterparts.
If you are a visiting India, do not be alarmed to see some men holding hands; don’t just assume they are gay. Funny thing is that in some parts of the country, it’s still sort of borderline taboo for members of the opposite sex to show signs of affection.