Monday, September 19, 2005

Sex and Morality, the Indian Way

A new reality show is making waves in India. Personally I have no idea how such tasteless broadcast can make waves - I'm simply taking the words of the producers and gizmo promotions at face value. The theme of the show is quite simple - about a dozen young adults stay together in a swanky house, while competing in a music competition, for a coveted contract with a music company.

This show is a brilliant advertisement of our great Indian Parampara. The contestants touch the feet of their gurus and teachers after every 3 minutes, make a poker face and ask for the ashirvaad of the 'elders' from across the nation after every performance, and they have quickly made brothers and sisters out of each other. Any kind of sleaze is out of the question - this is an Indian show, and sleaze is blasphemy in India.

The same production company that produces this show runs another popular show all over the world, called 'Big Brother'. Like the Indian show, this too is a show of young adults staying together in a house. Another similarity this show shares with the Indian one - the contestants vote out one member every week.

But this is where the similarity ends, and that too, quite egregiously. Unlike the wonderfully puritanical Indian show, Big Brother is a show of decadence where the young adults (housemates), unlike their prudish Indian counterparts, are constantly indulging in kinky orgies, taking skinny dippings and doing other such wild things, on national television.

What is it about us Indians that we have to be so coy about sex? Why is sex such a tabu in India, of all places? On a larger context, why are we Indians and our societies are so desperately lacking even a semblance of openmindedness, and are buried in double standards, hypocrisy and a funny way of looking at women?

I really don't have the answer myself. Historically speaking, at best, I can assume that Islamisation has to do something with it, since in the good old days of the ancient world, it was our society that was the most advanced in the world, besides being wonderfully openminded (how ironic!). It was here that Kama Sutra was written, the bible of love and sex. Our epics are replete with such references of impropriety that they, put in context today and judged against our present moral standards, would bring heart attacks to many (including my uncool mom).

Some examples over the top of my head:

Karna is born to Kunti from an act of lovemaking between her and Surya, while she was still a maiden. After she marries Pandu (who was technically impotent), they decide that Kunti should bed the best of sperm donors that were on offer to get sons. So each of Kunti's 5 sons were the result of lovemaking between her and superhuman demigods. (Poor Pandu was technically impotent since he was under a curse that he would die the moment he had sex.) Moving on, the heroine of the epic, Draupadi, is polyandrous - married to all the five pandavas. Even imagining an analogous situation in our society today is impossible. The exquisitely beautiful Ahalya, married to the sage Gautama, grants sexual favours to Indra because she was bored of her old hag of a husband. While being plyed on a boat by Satyavati, the sage Parasurama is overpowered by a desire to make love to her. Realising that she had no way out of the situation, she consents to him, but on certain conditions : that her son would be assured of greatness, her stink (she was a fishergirl) would be gone, and a fog would shroud their lovemaking, so that no one could see them.

If we changed the names of the characters and demigods to present scenarios and asked people what they thought of it, I bet everyone and sundry would find them morally despicable. Change back the names to the demigods, and everyone's opinion would change in a flash. From an open minded perspective, the above mythological accounts are great exemplars of feminism, feminine empowerment, feminine sexuality, and equality in society. These ancient characters were veritable 21st century superwomen!!

Islam's dogmatic mandate not only brought a change in the existing easy going Indian social fibre, but a handful muslim conquerors destroyed art and culture brutally. Sufism did bring back some liberal thoughts, but it wasn't enough to replace the damage that took place to the free-thinking hindu and buddhist culture under the Islamic sword. Over a period of time, we had turned wonderfully incurious and numb, and the damage was irreversible to such an extent, that it has stood the test of time.


The other day, Rectors of some Indian Universities passed some wonderfully clever laws. At the Anna, Bombay and Orissa Universities, its been announced that women should not wear miniskirts, jeans, or any kind of western outfit (sort of forgotten at the moment which outfit was banned where) since not allowing these would bring in “more discipline and a sense of unity” among the students. (paraphrasing them). And, reduce chances of women getting molested and raped.

Excellent. So what's next? Because there is a terrorism threat, should we all give off our bikes and start moving in military tanks? Wear helmets and armours to go to the grocery?

By holding accountable the dress as opposed to the provocation, these moral policemen are only damaging the situation, and glorifying exactly the notion that needs to be driven out from our sensibilities. They can only believe that the dress is at fault, because at the back (and front) of their perverted mind runs the underlying notion and assumption that 'women are pieces of flesh'. And if these 'pieces of flesh' overdress, everything will be alright. bah! Why should the dress pay the price when clearly the problem lies somewhere else? These clever gentlemen don't realise that rape, molestation etc have nothing to do with the dress, while it has everything to do with the mindset of the people doing it. Bloody Motherfucking Idiots!


rimjhim said...

Truth and nothing but the naked truth!!!!!!!!!

In India only.."nagarvadhu pratha" was there,,,and our history ..( our proud point!!)is not short of such shameful examples...!!!! but u know...we indians are proud of our so-called culture...

now the idiot F*** muslim leaders want sania mirza to get dressesd up properly!!!! i dnt understand why the hell they act as moral policeman....why r they filling dirt in already dirty culture atmosphere.....

People do stare at us ('i m a girl) through penetrating shameless eyes....wat can b done..u jst cant go and slap them.. ..nothing but IGNORE them is the only option....

I pity this double standard indian community...!! I can get angry over it...what more could be done??

Can u change the society??

morpheus said...

//now the idiot F*** muslim leaders want sania mirza to get dressesd up properly!!!!i dnt understand why the hell they act as moral policeman.//

Rinku, this isn't a hindu vs muslim thing. for every muslim idiot, there must be 2 hindu idiots. ever heard of the biggest moral police of 'em all - the Shiv Sena? :-)

Blackjack said...

whatever the case maybe, we are definately a few pegs up from those WASPs and red necks.