( First Published In Spring & Summer Edition Of Aavartan, 2014. It’s A Research Journal Published From Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh)
India is melting pot of most beautiful philosophies. On one hand we have lofty themes embedded in Advaitic domain, which expand our limited consciousness, and on the other, we have principles related with Kama, explored beautifully in Vatsayana’s Kama Sutra. However, having said that, I must say we have strayed away from these concepts, leading to disturbed living patterns at various level of human existence. Neither we have been able to act as Grihastha (householder) nor able to emerge as a perfect Yogi. At this point, it’s better to stick to distortions that have trespassed into healthy sexual beliefs.
One should not forget that sex is a powerful force, which can even shake the beliefs of yogis lost in deep meditation. The stories of Indra sending Apsaras to distract the sages are quite well known- a fact which mythological TV serials have cashed-in so well! Osho comes to describe the impact of sexual power in his inimitable style. He says, “Ninety percent of our thinking is sexual. Whatsoever you are doing outside, inside sex is a constant concern – you may not even be aware of it. You are sitting in a room and a woman enters: your posture changes suddenly. Your spine is more erect, your breathing changes, your blood pressure is different. You may not be aware at all of what has happened, but your whole body has reacted sexually. You were a different person when the woman was not there; now again you are a different person.”
That’s being the case, it’s really baffling average human being has been taught to remain in denial mode about it. Now that’s not only strange but also a dangerous state of affair. It leads to unhealthy suppression of one of the most basic instincts. Why do we forget that such unhealthy denial would prove suicidal for the greater good of human society? It would only lead to negative manifestation of sexual energies. Worse, self-proclaimed Gurus in field of spirituality have created huge mess by proclaiming that sexual beliefs are obstacle in attainment of realization. Kama has been portrayed as villain. That’s not true. Had it been villain, it would not have attained a dignified position as one of the aims associated with Purusartha (aims considered vital for human existence). The truth is not what these commercial Gurus are preaching. What we need to remember is that sex need to be enjoyed but not at the cost of cherished human values. It needs to be honoured but in a dignified way.
So now we come to an altogether different aspect. We are living in age of technological boom. Sexting is so common, pornographic materials are available at one click and women and men are now being hailed progressive in such matters, but still an enlightened understanding is missing. Mind you, bundle of information cannot ensure a conscious approach. We need a proper mindset, a proper approach to develop a mature understanding in this regard. This “mature understanding” is something which has not made its presence felt. It’s not going to come through titillating advertisement, wherein particular flavour of condom is being preferred. Nor it can be achieved by witnessing gyrating bodies in Bollywood movies. Most of the henious crimes we are witnessing have some sexual misconception as their primary cause. Imagine infants are being raped and even older women are also being raped! Rapes are not only about man exerting his power over woman in wrong way as preached by feminists, but it’s more about sexual miseducation.
Jeremy Seabrook, a prominent British author, expressing his concerns about sexual miseducation rightly states that “if it’s true that silence over sexuality risks blighting lives, it is certain that leaving instructions of the young in sexual matters to the free market is a disaster…..It is clear that new forms of ignorance can be conjured out of the very knowingness which the newly initiated into the secrets of sex they have gained.” If that sort of so-called knowledge about sex is lethal, one could easily imagine that restrictions imposed by society on having access to fulfillment of sexual desires would be cause of greater sorrow. That’s because digital era has made transfer of sexual knowledge and explicit images a very commonplace affair. So if you are not proving it smooth outlet, you are simply creating world of perverts. It’s hard to imagine how can tough laws ensure prevention of sex-related crimes? They can act as deterrent, leading to lesser number of crimes, but they cannot eliminate the desire.
Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita unfolds this dilemma more succinctly: “Because of the destructive idea propounded by some spiritual traditions, that spiritual fulfillment is only possible if one denies sex, there is a great lack of any kind of intelligent sexual education. And because our species’ survival depends on sex, of course our bodies make it a priority.” The message is loud and clear: Make room for sex in intelligent way. It’s better to channelize our sexual desires in conscious way, but, at the same time, not forsaking principles related with honourable life.
Ironically, in another arena, the law commission, the courts and law enforcing agencies do not see sex related crimes in wider aspect. They treat it as a sexual offence wherein a man is a “dangerous criminal” and woman the “most helpless victim”. Rape in my eyes is representative of the collective failure of the society! Rape is seen as one of the most heinous crimes, and, indeed, it should be the case. However, does that ensure one accused of such a crime be treated in barbaric manners. In a nation which cares damn about prison reforms, one can imagine that those found guilty of sexual crimes or under-trials are treated in most miserable way. They also conveniently forget that when laws were framed the situations were quite different. The attitude of women was not brazen as it has now become and when one says one is not suggesting that a woman’s modesty needs to be outraged simply because she dared to display bizarre traits. It’s being suggested to merely show the changes that have occurred with the passage of time, wherein vulnerability has increased due to many complex developments which until now were quite unknown to Indian society. Earlier, there was lesser generation of porn movies but now in USA almost 211 porn movies are being made in every week. Needless to state, the Asian countries offer great market. The point which I wish to prove is that in given scenario the way we look at sex and sex related crimes needs to change.
Sadly, the Indian landscape is marred by contradictions in this regard. It’s open to Reebok shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and Wrangler Jeans, but it tries hard to ignore the impact of permissiveness, and licentiousness too, these items have unleashed. Why there is so much ambiguity when it comes to having a candid opinion regarding the worth of sex in Indian society? It’s high time we have a proper mindset and clinical approach to deal with sex related crimes. Let’s not treat one guilty of sexual crime merely as “sick pervert” and treated to legal process in most cruel fashion, but subject him to greater reforms which help him emerge as good human being. We have borrowed from West so many lesser aspects, but failed to borrow their methodological approach encircling complex issues. One cannot emerge as good human being by merely highlighting on one’s T-shirt “Being Human” message. One need to go beyond such cosmetic gestures.
It’s not merely enough that sex education gets introduced. There has to be a greater space for assimilation of sexual beliefs besides channelization of sexual desires. After all, celibacy is abnormal and outdated in both progressive and orthodox societies! For progressive thinkers it’s akin to introduction of Hindutva! Against this backdrop, the only path that remains is to provide space to unleash sexual desires. Is Indian society really prepared for that? However, the harsh truth is that it has no other way left. So let’s have proper sex education; introduce state-of-the-art sex clinics in villages and smaller cities to deal with sexual disorders/sex related diseases, and, above all, improvise the legal mechanism to deal with sex related crimes. It’s still marred by archaic methods. It’s never too late to give way to better ways, ideas and beliefs. Let’s accept the new changes in a wise way before the damage becomes irreparable!
Spring and Summer Edition In PDF format:
Jeremy Seabrook: Article Titled “Sexual Miseducation”
Mahasatvaa Ma Ananda Sarita: Paradigm Shift; Nov-Dec.2010
I am in love with Radio since childhood. It’s my first love. That’s because it remained above the distortions that hit the silver screen /idiot box with passage of time, providing healthy entertainment, besides keeping me in touch with changes taking place in the world. The other two mediums gave way to skin show but radio kept its virginity intact for long. However, very recently I discovered that it has too given way to vulgarity and obscenity. This time vulgarity entered not through the eyes but through the ears in form of sound waves.
It took me by surprise when I found one of the very young female listeners shrieking out loudly on radio that she enjoys uninterrupted “Sex and the city” and others can also have same quality experience like her if they come to own a particular brand of set top box! It appeared to me that society has really progressed- a belief that did not stay for long. That probably also explains why we have so many late night programmes on radio, often hosted by female presentators with remarkable confidence. That makes me feel pretty awkward within as how come being a male I lack the same confidence? Anyway, the arrival of songs like “ Ooh la la“, “ Chikni Chameli“, ” Bhaag DK Bose” and “ Jalebi Bai“, to name a few, on radio wiped out whatever little respectability radio had so painfully preserved in all these ears.
Anyway, it gave me some sort of satisfaction that bombardment of such songs and programmes is indicative of growing maturity in society- something also in tune with supply and demand theory. I mean I felt when young generation can so boldly discuss and share their experiences on radio, television and online portals I have no reason to assume that times have not really changed, in which people like me owning a great degree of shyness in such matters are like great black patch on clean white plain clothe. Have a look at our teenage days. We had just morning shows at theaters delivering “Gupt Gyana” (secret knowledge), which was rarely watched by guys and gals from decent homes and then there were magazines like “Playboy” which few could afford and some Hindi books- poor versions of foreign magazines. To discuss such matters was considered taboo and television after much consideration started showing late night movies in late 80s, which none watched.
Look at our times. We have helpline numbers that deal with queries related with post marriage worries !! There is growing awareness about sex education, more than need of moral education- to such an extent that talks about moral education seems to be regressive! Well, my eyes were wide opened when some months ago next door young boy,studying in good school and belonging to a good family, asked me ,” Do I own CD of Murder-2 ?” My response in negative made him give me a strange stare and he was virtually annoyed when I asked why he has so much interest in movie having bold scenes-based on theme revolving around extra marital affairs? He smiled and said I am not in sync with recent trends!! I found merit in his response , after all, how come I forgot that all national magazines carry out sex surveys, which has details of intimate moments ? These are easily available low priced magazines which anyone can afford!! Gone are the days when “ Roop tera Mastana” or “ Julie I love you” aesthetically picturized songs, evoked unheard sensations. It’s a different world wherein explicit details in normal conversations are commonplace and sexting has killed all scope for unheard sensations.
The point is do these signs are indicative of the fact that society is on right track after having become comfortable with sex related issues? The answer is a big “No”! Just now I signed a petition that will serve as a memorandum to Commissioner of Police, New Delhi, compelling him to take note of “Gang-rapes, sexual assaults, victim blaming, shameful rape trials” which have terribly hit Delhi/NCR. It reported the highest number of ‘rape’ cases (414) in 2010, leading it to earn dubious distinction of being rape capital of India. The other cities are also not that safe. In Calcutta a woman was raped by five youths when they were offered lift by her in middle of the night. In Gurgaon, a woman pub employee was allegedly gang-raped by six youth in a flat in the city. The sensational rape case of a BPO employee at Dhaula Kuan is still fresh in our memories.
After such incidents males are cursed, viewing rapes in narrow perspective as subordination of females in patriarchal society a way via which males prove their superiority over females. The feminists and intellectuals speak about ways and means to prevent rapes the way this petition talks about like better promotion of ‘women helplines, monitoring through CCTV’s, sexual assault prevention and redressal policy, state and police sensitivity towards women, workplace safety and awareness campaigns. However, the big picture is often ignored. At this point it would be not be out of place to suggest that the United States has the world’s highest rape rate. A country that has high level of transparency in sexual affairs with a great freedom to indulge in sexual experimentation. Let’s also remember it’s a society highly feminist in nature. “1 of 6 U.S. women and 1 of 33 U.S. men have experienced an attempted or completed rape” states one of the reports published several years back.
Let me state that this issue has many complex facet. The same society that proclaims about freedom of sexual preferences and about attainment of maturity has utterly failed to address some of the key questions related with sexuality. The same society also deals with serious issues in biased manner as its more interested in vilification of men community and sharp polarization of society for vested interests. It boasts of sexual freedom but it loves to highlight important issues related with men and women in stereotypical way. That’s one of the greatest paradox in our times. It’s because more women in offices means greater consumption of material goods and so none of the countries including India can dare to ignore demands associated with women as they play a great role in stabilization of nation’s economy.
However, this has led to another problem. The market oriented global society has utilized women’s efficiency not only as qualified labour but also used her sexuality to great extent in selling of the products as well which these women are producing. Nokia sets are made in some remote part of India with the help of over burdened male and female staff and these very phones are launched at glittering ceremony, wherein one notices gorgeous male/female star accompanied by good looking females! Notice how sexuality is also being promoted along with new Nokia set!!
The problem arises here: Youth can buy a Nokia set but how and where will they unleash their sexual energy? That’s why it’s also promoted that we are now a country which allows many sexual preferences, enabling girls to boast “why should boys have all the fun? ” A certain sexual tension is gradually built. Want to buy a soap? Buy one which impresses girls easily or buy one which sexy Katrina Kaif uses over her long legs!! Want to buy a toothpaste? Use one which leads to freshness of breath so that it’s easier to attract kiss of a beautiful girl? If you use certain cream you attain a great glow to attract young girls and if female is using such a cream glow of her face is sure to get her a job!! It’s not enough to see the ball reaching the boundary. See how semi naked cheer girls express their joy when ball races towards boundary! You buy something and the woman cashier at counter, being impressed by the mobile you carry, offers you condom to compensate for lack of change!!
That sort of sexual impressions are being constantly generated. These are false images. But they are powerful enough to shatter into pieces better values. They lead to dangerous conditioning of mind. As a result right people from both the sexes suffer. If you are not allowing healthy release of sexual energy even as the the mind gets hammered with sexual images of all the types will it not lead to perversions of all types? Will it not lead to rapists and sexual offenders? Why are only men being vilified? Why not the system in its entirety being targeted? Will tough laws that seem to punish all the men and laws which view rest of the men as potential rapists serve the purpose? I think these are not preventive measures but methods to end the human society for forever.
Now let’s talk about love as well. The same Indian society which gives the impression that it has evolved to great extent is still comprised of people having more closed mind than people living in stone age. On the one hand, we find one reputed female editor finding extra marital affairs good for keeping marriage lively and, on the other hand, we have societies which hang to death boy and girl for loving each other just because they belonged to different caste. One real love story gives gives rises to many problems in India. Angry parents, shocked relatives, red-faced friends and hostile law authorities all make the life of lovers no less than living hell. No wonder the path of true love is never easy.
It’s quite ironical that casual sex has so many takers if one takes into account growing number of teenage pregnancies or sex at the call centers or growing number of educated girls from good families joining prostitution to earn good money in short time but the same society is not yet ready to embrace the lovers with open arms. That reminds me of middle class morality, which finds its appearance in dramas written by G B Shaw. A stiff resistance often greets lovers, who not only have to face hostile law authorities but also be face-to-face with shrewd moves of deceptive friends and relatives. Deceptive friends? Tell any friend that you are in love with some girl and you are bound to hear anyone passing this great information that she has slept with him too!! A lobby of bad friends gets in action side by side good ones, leading to dominance of half truths. True lovers get above such traps but not all are that great willed and so most love stories end up on tragic note.
So it’s okay to be fake lovers, in which there is display of money but no real emotions. Just the way a new movie get released every Friday, a new girlfriend or boyfriend appears in life of such lovers. It’s okay to be a couple, who have no respect for each other but they are in relationship to keep the society happy or , for that matter, to keep the honour of family intact. Often such couples are involved in serious clashes and some even come to murder their partners. However, the Indian society has place for all such incidents. It treats them as part and parcel of drama called human life. What really baffles is that these same block heads who endorse all ills of societies in name of growth of society are so harsh towards lovers seriously in love with each other!! The custodians of morality still issue death warrants to them all in name of religion, caste, language and status.
Let’s hope that Indian society which is so eager to convey the impression that it has evolved and in tune with better sensibilities makes way for right people, create room for healthy relationships and removes chosen contradictions. At present, it’s in cusp which is neither modern nor ancient. I prefer not to treat it as a society trapped in transition. It’s probably moving away from its core: The core made up of ancient wisdom which treated even insentient objects worthy of admiration.
Look at present age. We are murdering our own kids-only because they fail to fulfill our expectations. We believed that husband and wife are each other’s reflection. Today we find that most of them are living in dead relationship. We treated women as object of worship. Today she is some ‘chikni chameli’ or, if that’s not the case, she is promoting some mobile or deodorant via the charm of her body !! Our wise present age intellectuals call prostitution the oldest profession. They forget that we have produced women who have set high precedents. Let’s not glorify trash even as we come to make way for trash to make the life attain full circle.
If sex enters then friendship between man and woman is not real or true! Nonsense. What’s the need to use sex as a criterion to determine whether friendship is real or not? If one says the issue relates more with friendship and not sex then what’s the need to be bothered over what others perceive about quality of friendship? I mean why one is so bothered about the type of friendship that exists between man and woman? The whole world is guided by some sorts of interests. Is that too easy to be Nishkam (selfless)? In Ramcharit Manas, it’s clearly stated right from Devas (Demigods) to human beings all are guided by some interests.
I fail to understand what’s the need to view man-woman friendship from a special angle? Are same sex relationships above interests? I have altogether a different take on this issue. Let’s not use the presence or absence of sex as the determining factor to measure the worth of man and woman relationship. No problem if sex is there. If it’s not there then treat that too as normal! In my eyes ice always melts in presence of fire. It’s natural. Why so much fuss? The only worrying factor is that the whole relationship should not get limited to sexual gestures alone. In other words, the relationship was a flawed one if it was merely preserved for sexual favours.
If that’s not the case then just enjoy the relationship singing Kishore’s hit number from Amar Prem: Kuch To Log Kahenge Logo Ka Kaam Hai Kehna!