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India, the land of eroticism, sexism and rapism.

Once upon a time Indians had no inhibitions about expressing sexuality. They built numerous erotic temples full of magnificent art of erotic love.

Then the British brought Victorian conservatism to India. And then Gandhi, the great leader of India said sex should only be for procreation, not for pleasure. Like the followers of different spiritual leaders, Gandhi’s followers were influenced by deeply conservative understanding of human sexuality.

Now, for many Indians, sex is a taboo. There are people who do not eat meat, onion and garlic to control their sexual desires. It is not uncommon that a couple start sleeping in separate rooms soon after their child is born. Women’s pre and post marital affairs and an active role during sexual acts are socially unacceptable. Sex and spirituality, many people believe, can’t coexist. In today’s India, an unbelievable number of people believe sex is a male thing. Countless brothels have been made for giving pleasure to men. Incredible India is now facing an alarming increase in rapes and sexual abuse of women and children.

Comments

      • Ashutosh says

        So how the “increase in rapes and sexual abuse of women and children” in India is related with the Indian conservative views about sex. You are contradicting your own view what you have written in the above text “India, the land of eroticism, sexism and rapism.”

        • Bruce Gorton says

          The same way that it is related to African conservative views on sex, and European conservative views on sex.

          In most cultures men are taken as being the ones with power, and rape is often used to assert that power.

          • Laurent says

            Ok then, let’s write “sex is not only about sex”, then it will make more sense.
            Because if we write “rape is a sexual aggression which is not about sex”, there is some kind of absurdity in the sentence

          • Laurent says

            A very long and complex sentence, only to say that “rape is a sexual aggression”.
            I’ll tell you something else: murder is a deadly aggression.
            We are smashing opened doors…
            Anything else?

          • latsot says

            Yeah, there’s something else. Rape isn’t about sex as experienced by two or more people who want to have sex with each other.

            The person being raped isn’t having sex.

  1. kevinalexander says

    Yes, very true but it’s also about sex. If a mugger hits you upside your head and takes your money it’s because he hates you and wants to hurt you.

    He also wants money. We all want it all and hateful people want to hurt you as well as all the other stuff including sex.

  2. Indrajit Chattopadhyay says

    Like many ideas including religion, morality and social rights, population of India has been fed with wrong ideology and polarized views of few leaders for centuries, resulting in a very skewed perception of all of them. Sexuality is no different. All that were strengths of India has been robbed by those who led and imposed killing our basic capability of thinking independently.

  3. says

    Taslima, sadly i agree with you. As a country we transitioning and seeing a lot of social unrest. A boy who at home has seen that its okay for your father to physically abuse your mother, ill-treat your sister clearly learns to be dis respectful to women. As the same boy comes in the main society and sees that there are these other females who are watching a movie, cultivating a relationship – something snaps in their mind. And then the horrendous acts of cruelty.

  4. says

    Rape is a unique crime in that police and judicial process is often corrupt, because police and judges tend to be male. UK is full of reports from rape victims saying that the legal process is as debilitating as the rape itself.
    I am not so sure the British brought only Victorian Conservatism to India. They brought a harsh and organised capitalist system to India which exploited Bengali opium production, and they undoubtedly brought laws to control brothels to the mutual advantage of government service expatriates and local brothel keepers who were
    willing to collaborate with the occupiers.

    I don’t think there is good news for India’s women, because modern medical science including in utero sex determination is leading to an excess male population (also in China). Bloody and brutal wars no longer affect the sex ratio, because modern wars tend to claim 90-99% civilian casualties.

  5. Mriganka Bhattacharyya says

    Ignorance is strength! In one high school there in our Assam, one teacher started sex education to teenagers. One batch of students complained to the school authority that he was teaching ‘bad things’. Some days ago, I went to teach an 11th standard guy here in Kolkata. His mother sat besides us and instructed me how to teach. <> – this word is not pronounced as ‘topical’ rather it is pronounced as ‘tropical’ – she told me. Taslima, it is true what you said about Kolkata – it is a city of astrologers, …………….Though I have found a few really good people who are so helpful and kind.

  6. says

    Its like you learn my thoughts! You appear to grasp a lot about this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I feel that you just could do with some % to pressure the message house a bit, however other than that, this is great blog. A great read. I will definitely be back.

  7. deera says

    Men don’t seem to realize that their freedom can be achieved with women’s empowerment. First of all, I must admit that I am ignorant of Indian culture. But in the US, most violence toward women occurs because men feel trapped by the pressure to be a heterosexual male which includes producing and providing for children, marrying a woman and only engaging in heterosexual encounters either inside or outside of marriage. As the US is a patriarchal society, US men feel they have the right to physically harm those who are not men. All other forms of sexual expression, masturbation, homosexuality, etc. are taboo. Men constantly rebel against these limitations yet they will not allow women the economic and sexual freedom that would encourage independence for both genders.

    I feel that removing the taboos related to homosexuality and masturbation would decrease violence toward women and children. Both genders can live more freely and compulsory marriage would not exist. I think that most men in the US would prefer not to deal with marriage and kids and would rather hang around and play video games, watch porn and eat junk food.

    How are homosexuality and masturbation viewed in Indian culture? I have seen pictures of the Khajuraho temples showing females masturbating. Obviously it was accepted at one time.

    • latsot says

      Men constantly rebel against these limitations yet they will not allow women the economic and sexual freedom that would encourage independence for both genders.

      Yes, I think that’s right regardless of the taboos men think they operate under. It’s ok for men to break the taboos, not ok for women to do that and women have far more strict taboos including not getting on a bus at night. This way of thinking seems to be true in all places, acted out as a horror show in many places and shrugged off as the status quo almost everywhere. And it is a fucking disgrace.

  8. shravan says

    How much blame exactly are you leaving on Gandhi’s shoulders? Conservatism was prevalent before him and I really dont think the right-wing hindus or the muslim clerics were so strongly influenced by Gandhi’s views on sex.

    And also, the Khajuraho temples show that *one* society, in the past, was open about sex. You cant generalize it for the entire population, imo.

    Also, its the first time I’m hearing about people not eating onions etc to help them abstain from sex! :D I can safely say that the vast majority of people I know do one or more of that and I think (well, the thrust of the article is right, sex is a taboo subject and I really cannot ask them upfront!) I can safely say they do not do it for the express purpose of abstaining.

    But I think that attitudes to pre-marital relationships is SLOWLY changing in India and maybe that can reduce the incidence of rape? Perhaps by demystify the opposite sex or thoughts along that line.

  9. t4cap says

    Sex & rape are of course related though sex need not necessarily be involved in a rape. A person can be raped without sex being involved i.e. no physical sexual intercourse takes place. Also the victim of a rape, as is common knowledge, need not be females. Juveniles of both genders being sexually abused, prisoners sodomized as well as abused sexually by same gender aggressors. Thus victims of Rape, the sexual kind, could be of any gender. The same applies to the perpetrators. Aggressors could be of any gender too.

    It might be perceived that RAPE is perpetuated for aggressive manifestation of control by forcing victim to physically submit to the act of abuse via sexual intercourse. It might not be far removed from ‘bullying’. Notice victims are most times the more submissive or weaker personalities in rape. The exerting of one’s will of forceful superiority over a weaker or submissive person would constitute bullying and when sexual intercourse is used as the means for that, it is called rape.
    Women very, very sadly & unfortunately fulfill the criteria of being weaker (physically) and in India as well as many Asian cultures, are brought up to be more submissive to the males. Therefore rape is NOT a male against female thing. Rather a stronger protagonist doing it to a weaker victim just because it could be done & the perp has the force (as in numbers – gang rape) or the upper hand – a superior of higher ranked, status.
    It is evident in most spheres of human endeavors, in wars, in business, in the playing fields, as well as the class-rooms, families.
    In politics as well we see stronger dominant individuals ‘raping’ the lesser weaker submissive ones. Dominant parties trashing the lesser.
    Humans do that – the idealism of the stronger aiding the weaker is a myth. The ones who rape take full advantage of strength and greater force/resource to subdue and “rape” the weaker, more submissive ones. Gang rape, bosses abusing marginalized workers, persons in authority, wielding a form of control, doing it to the ones ‘under’ them!
    Thus ‘rapists’ can be males or females, even trans-genders or LGBTs.
    Would it thus be fair to say that women do not always end up on the receiving end in ‘rapes’?

    • latsot says

      t4cap:

      It might be perceived that RAPE is perpetuated for aggressive manifestation of control by forcing victim to physically submit to the act of abuse via sexual intercourse.

      It might indeed be perceived that way. Because that is how it is.

      Notice victims are most times the more submissive or weaker personalities in rape

      Only by definition. Have you ever noticed that rape victims are always the people that other people can rape?

      Therefore rape is NOT a male against female thing.

      *BLINK*

      Oh, it’s not? Do you actually realise that you are a rape apologist? Do you think you’re on the side of people who have been raped? It’s time you learned that you are NOT. What you are is a prick.

  10. furiouslysleepy says

    Seems like a slight simplification of Indian history. Yes, the Victorians were conservative, but so were the Mughals, and before them the various Islamic conquerers of north India. Further, India has been a stratified and segregated society for a long time, and it does not follow from erotic depictions in some some temples that the rest of the population was similarly liberal. One might as well look at popular movie stars and conclude that Indian muslims are uniformly literate, progressive, and committed to near-Gandhian non-violence.

    And even in India’s supposedly enlightened past, women were not really admitted any sexual agency except perhaps in isolated pockets — witness India’s epics or religious texts.

    Finally, the modern rise in rapes might be more a modern rise in rape reporting — which still says horrible things about Indian society, but what it doesn’t say is that there’s a rise in rapes looking for an explanation, which you have attributed to Victorian prudery and Gandhian conservatism. (By the way, Gandhi wasn’t exactly a huge fan of the Brits. His beliefs came from ancient Indian theology — he wanted to follow ‘brahmacharya’, a concept from ancient Jain and Hindu texts about being able to resist all forms of temptation, especially sexual and dietary.)

    I don’t really disagree with you that modern Indian society is horrible for women, but it kind of gets my goat when people talk about recapturing India’s glorious history — that kind of stuff better be very metaphorical. Greeks might aspire to recapture the glory of Greece, but they’re not going to do it with slavery and the disenfranchisement of women.

    PS: Space between paragraphs. How?!

  11. latsot says

    Finally, the modern rise in rapes might be more a modern rise in rape reporting

    yeah, i suppose that might be true. But WHO COULD POSSIBLY GIVE A FUCK? Women are being raped all the time, can’t we concentrate on stopping that rather than on comforting semantics?

  12. furiouslysleepy says

    @lastot

    I did not (at all!) intend to say “reporting rape is wrong or controversial”. Reporting rape is completely uncontroversially good for society as a whole (though, in today’s India, often not good for the victim, sadly.)

    I’m bugged with the representation of ancient India as some sort of feminist sex-positive utopia — it was not, and currently a huge chunk of misogyny in India is shielded by the “rich traditions of India” defense. Let us not argue that India needs to return to the mentality of ancient India, because the ancient Indians built the temples of Khajurao, but they also burnt widows on their husband’s pyres. (Oh, and, ancient India was frequently polygamous, to add to that horror.)

    So to recap:

    1. Rape is very bad.
    2. Reporting rape is not bad or controversial.
    3. Modern India is especially horrible for women.
    4. Ancient India was worse.
    5. Taslima is glorifying ancient India, probably out of ignorance.
    6. I’m interested in pointing out (4), not in defending or minimizing rape in any way.

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  1. [...] India, the land of eroticism, sexism and rapism. Once upon a time Indians had no inhibitions about expressing sexuality. They built numerous erotic temples full of magnificent art of erotic love.Then the British brought Victorian conservatism to India. And then Gandhi, the great leader of India said sex should only be for procreation, not for pleasure. Like the followers of different spiritual leaders, Gandhi’s followers were influenced by deeply conservative understanding of human sexuality. Now, for many Indians, sex is a taboo. There are people who do not eat meat, onion and garlic to control their sexual desires. It is not uncommon that a couple start sleeping in separate rooms soon after their child is born. Women’s pre and post marital affairs and an active role during sexual acts are socially unacceptable. Sex and spirituality, many people believe, can’t coexist. In today’s India, an unbelievable number of people believe sex is a male thing. Countless brothels have been made for giving pleasure to men. Incredible India is now facing an alarming increase in rapes and sexual abuse of women and children. Main tere naseeb ki barish nahi Jo tujh pe baras jaon Tujhe taqdeer badalni hogi mujhe panay ke liye….!!!! मैं तेरे नसीब की बारिश नहीं जो तुझ पे बरस जाऊं, तुझे तकदीर बदलनी होगी मुझे पाने के लिए ….!!!! 'میں تیرے نصیب کی بارش نہیں جو تجھ پہ برس جاؤں تجھے تقدیر بدلنی ہوگی مجھے پانے کے لئے "I'm not the rain of your fortune that i'll fall on you.You've to change your fate in order to get me." Reply With Quote [...]

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