Tag Archives: Statesman

In Conversation With British Author Jeremy Seabrook: Analyzing The Sexual Beliefs In The Modern Indian Society!

Sex education alone holds no meaning if they are not backed up by strong ideals.

Sex education alone holds no meaning if it is not backed up by strong ideals.


I feel really privileged that few well-known established authors had some time saved for me as well as they came to express their views on some sensitive issues. The issue at hand ” The changing sexual beliefs in modern Indian society’ is a very sensitive in nature. The views which I have shared here in this article have already found place in various other articles but it would be interesting to inform the readers that they first appeared in this discussion with Jeremy Seabrook.

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My Viewpoint:

This has reference to Jeremy Seabrook’s article “Sex Education And The Free Market” published in The Statesman ( March 28, 2005).  Unveiling the road-map for future, it’s evident that we cannot dispense with observance of better principles including those related with sexual attitudes. You ( read Jeremy Seabrook) have touched the issue in a thought-provoking manner, unfolding the requirements in an unambiguous style. However, having said that, there are missing elements as well, which I would like to highlight. The Indian society has always treated sex not as a taboo subject but considered it an essential element of balanced human life. This is why it finds place in four “Purusharthas” ( objectives) laid down in Hinduism as Kama; Dharma, Artha and Moksha being the other three objectives, which help the man to go up the ladder of evolution. It’s not very clear how did it come to attain its present distorted form.

One reason for it could be that long Muslim rule plus gradual inclination of Indian towards Victorian Ideals/perceptions during the British regime distanced them from its glorious aspects. While it’s true that taking refuge in Indian values cannot rescue impressionable minds from the mess, which has become part and parcel of the modern times, however, it could still be stated without doubt that had traces of Hindu ideals been altogether absent the damage would have been irreparable. If there is still a ray of hope, it’s only because Hindu ideals are still there doing what they have been doing since time immemorial- soaking the impurities without their lustre.

In nutshell, what I wish to state is that better results could be obtained by combining sex education with revival of past values. Sex education alone holds no meaning if it is not backed up by strong ideals. The issues you have touched has a very complicated angle as well. It’s a bitter truth that pornographic stuff helps us to relieve sexual tension, more so in age which keeps women at par with “use and throw objects”. Women liberalization movements may or may not have taught women to honour progressive ideals but it has certainly capped them with ability to use her body for commercial interests in the market-oriented world of ours.  As a result their bodies no longer evoke innocent delight but feelings mired in sexual fantasies.

How can you expect these young minds to behave like “expert yogis’ adept in controlling their senses?  Interestingly, adults themselves are surrounded by illusions of all sorts in these matters. Indeed, we are living in strange times. In my city, the prominent magazine corner lies adjacent to a theater showing “BF”. If that’s not enough, cast a glance around and eyes are soon going to intercept posters showing semi-clad women in suggestive postures.

Globalization has brought sea-change in our mannerism. Not only it has distanced us from finer values but also turned women into object of pleasure rather than turning them into instruments for attaining higher ends. The Western world has cleverly dumped its dubious habits in this country ( read India). Or, in other words, the Indians failed to borrow West’s glorious analytic abilities and instead zeroed-on their dark aspects to an extent that to many their bubble gum literature became the source of enlightenment. It may far fetched but it’s true that global powers have effectively projected woman’s false image to deviate Indian minds from higher concerns. Who knows they may have plans to shackle this nation again in their chains?  Young minds, after all, they have no knowledge of corrupt practices of the adult world, are bound to collapse, being too inept to counteract its charms.

Against this backdrop, it’s not hard to imagine why pornographic magazines, X-rated movies, and etc. have bombarded the lives of young people. That’s why their unusual interest in these matters should not leave us in shock and awe. This is bound to happen since aping Western values has become the prestige issue for both middle and elite class, even if that means deterioration of Indian ethos. Let me make it very clear that I am not trying to legitimize the existence of pornographic materials in our society. On the contrary, I am of the opinion that cheap titillation of the senses should give way to deep and mature relationship between man and woman. In my eyes, this can never be achieved by roping in sex education. It demands more.

The dynamics between man and woman and society at large needs to be governed by refined and elevated principles-the hallmark of Indian ideals.  Sex education does serve the purpose but in a flimsy manner. The perfect mantra for survival is possible only through tryst with Hinduism, or in secular terms, by once again establishing firm bond with the nation’s roots.

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Jeremy Seabrook’s Viewpoint:

Many thanks for your e-mail message, which I much appreciated. Of course, I agree much of what you say- in the West also women have shifted from being drudges, servants and comforters of men to being sex-objects. This is not what I understand by liberation. On the other hand, the repression and subordination of women is also indefensible. And there is no possibility of going back to the past- to some degree the past can inform one’s values and ideas which can be carried forward, but it is irrecoverable.

It is not a happy position, and I don’t think many people would have chosen to be where we are now; but we have no choice but to start from here. These are all intractable questions, and there is no obvious way forward. That does not however, mean we should stop trying and seeking.

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About Jeremy Seabrook:

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My first book was The Unprivileged, 1967, the story of my own family, a path breaking oral history from the late 18th century to the 1960s. This was followed by City Close-Up, a portrait, through the words of the people, of Blackburn in Lancashire.
 
In the 1970s, I wrote What Went Wrong? Working People and the Ideals of the Labour Movement; a book which, when published in the USA, was sub-titled Why hasn’t Having More Made People Happier?
 

Mother and Son, a memoir, appeared in 1980, and an indictment of Thatcher’s Britain,Unemployment, in 1982.
 
Work on India and Bangladesh followed, notably, Notes from another India and Children of Other Worlds, a comparison of child labour in nineteenth century London and present-day Dhaka in Bangladesh. My book, Love in a Different Climate, described how male same-sex relationships in India differ from those in the West.

 I have contributed to most major newspapers in Britain over the years, and have written for Granta. I am a regular contributor to New Internationalist – which has published three of my books in the last decade, most recently Consuming Cultures: Globalization and Local Lives. I write for Race and Class and Third World Resurgence, based in Penang, Malaysia.

Courtesy: http://jeremyseabrook.net/biography.html

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More About Jeremy Seabrook:

“He became an associate honorary fellow at the University of Bradford’s Department of Peace Studies 1995 to 1998 and an associate at the Institute of Race Relations, UK, from 2004 onwards.

He has made several documentaries for BBC radio and TV on social, environmental and developmental issues.

Since 1963, Seabrook has written for publications including: New Society, the Guardian, the Times, the Independent, New Statesman, New Internationalist, Race and Class, Third World Resurgence, Third World Network and others.

He has also written over 40 books, including;

Travels in the Skin Trade – looking at the psychology of western men who travel to southeast Asia for sexual adventures (Pluto Press).

A World Growing Old – the implications of an ageing population, north and south (Pluto Press).”

Courtesy: The Guardian

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jssd
Suggested Reading:

1. Vaibhav Mani Tripathi: Democracy and globalization: Are they really compatible? ( An article published in “Aavartan” – A quarterly bilingual journal of academic activities in social sciences, environment and literary arena ) 

It’s a brilliant article which deals with the impact of globalization from many angles.

Excerpt from it: 

” But the educational system what globalization promotes is focused in making technocrats so that they get huge work force with technical abilities. Democracy also needs well-educated people for its growth. But democratic societies flourish in a value based educational system and not a technology based system. The technology based educational system is result oriented and it has nothing to do with the values which human beings nurtured for generations so that they can live as human beings.”

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2.  Jeremy Seabrook: “Sex Education And The Free Market” published in The Statesman ( March 28, 2005).

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Pics Credit: 

Pic One 

Pic Two 

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