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Porn ban and a few extra yards 


The recent controversy revolving around banning pornography and lifting it within a couple of days had mixed reactions across India. Partha Prawal attempts assessing the views held by people belonging to different section of the society and presents his view on the issue…

Before the prologue

Sex, a three letter word, is the most feared and hated word in India. Sex is the only word that has been solely respo nsible for the entire ‘moral degradation’ through which the country has gone through in the past several decades. Right from the time of the great war of Ramayana and Kurukshetra to the latest scams of several hundred thousand crores, sex is responsible for every bad in our country. Even though the country gave the world Kamasutra – world’s best and the most scientific sex module – yet talking about sex in public or for academic purposes has always been considered as a taboo. But had sex been a taboo in India, then it would have not raced to become the world’s highest populated country. Anyhow, I do not have control over a few things which the ‘social clerics’ has adapted for the society as good and bad and which the major section of the society also follows ‘blindly’.

Few days’ back a journalist friend of mine asked me if I agreed to the government’s decision to lift its ban on porn which was imposed only a couple of days back. When I answered in the positive, he glared at me and gave me a mammoth lecture on porn.

“Porn is unholy and it is simply the glorification of sex and it pollutes the Indian values and Indian society,” he said.

“What does porn teaches you? Does it infuse any moral values in you? No, it does not. It simply pollutes the young mind and entices men to rape,” he further added.

‘So you too have watched porn, haven’t you?’ I asked him calmly. He was not prepared for the question and he muffled over his reply with a yes and a no.

‘All right then, since you have watched porn that means you are morally degraded and your mind is polluted and you no longer are attached to the Indian values. Moreover, you are a rapist as well,’ I shot back.

Probably the words pierced him to the deep as he stared at me with rage, muffling, before making a hurried exit. Advocacy is a good thing, but advocacy without proper logistics is a dangerous thing and it may spell doomsday-not just to an individual but to a community at large.

Porn ban history

Watching or not watching porn is an entirely private matter and in no way shall this be checked by a third party (irrespective of whosoever the party is). I am in favour of banning porn as well, but not because it is polluting our society but simply because I can’t stand to watch the objectification of a human soul. What porn or pornography actually is – a guide to some unrealistic sexual postures, some of which are even depicted in the Kamasutra and also in our temple carvings? The Ajanta and Elora caves at the Arabian Sea are full of such depictions, but no questions have been raised to close down the caves!

The ban in porn was the result of a PIL filed by one Kamlesh Vaswani- an Indore-based lawyer. Vaswani, an advocate for more than 15 years, whenever heard of violence against women, he felt he should do something and he ended up drawing a connection between pornography on the internet and sex-related crimes, and filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court in 2013 seeking a complete ban on all porn websites. His petition is the only such move against online pornography in India.

On August 2, 2015 (Sunday), when the government asked internet service providers (ISPs) to block 857 adult websites, Vaswani felt his two-and-half-year-long fight had finally taken off.

 “I am extremely happy that the Modi government has finally decided to take action against online pornography considering the Supreme Court’s observations. The ban is definitely a step towards protecting the country’s women and children,” Vaswani told the media.

In his PIL, which was first heard by a Supreme Court bench headed by then Chief Justice Altamas Kabir in April 2013, Vaswani tried to put forward what he described as the ‘harmful effects’ of pornography, especially child pornography.

His petition challenged the effectiveness of the Information Technology Act of 2000 in dealing with pornography. Section 67 of the law criminalises “publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form” but not accessing it.

Vaswani in his petition said, “Watching porn itself puts the country’s security in danger, encourages violent acts, unacceptable behaviour in society, exploitation of children and lowers the dignity of women. Watching online pornography has a direct co-relation with crimes against women. Watching porn also promotes sexual violence against women and children.”

He further said that ‘porn propels men to commit crime against women’. Well, considering his theory, if certain things propel someone, then why are not women propelled to rape men as study shows that 25 pc of Indian women enjoy porn!

“If bare women chest can seduce a man, so can a bare male torso. But see the irony, a man can roam around wearing just a short but a woman is not safe even in a burkha,” Barasha Choudhury, a final year law student, said over the telephone from New Delhi.

“But I thank the government for lifting the ban. Earlier, I knew about only a 100 porn sites, but now I have the knowledge about 757 more,” Barasha added.

Statistics on the platter

Study reveals that around 30 per cent of all internet traffic is pornography and the biggest porn site gets over four billion page views and 350 million unique visits per month. It further revealed that an average Indian user spends almost 5 minutes on a porn website every day.

In another study carried out by a popular porn site it was revealed that UK tops the list of countries watching porn, followed by the US, Canada and India. If Vaswani’s claim of the ‘porn and rape’ is considered to be true, then UK should have topped the list of sex-related crimes in the world.

The study further revealed that most of the viewers view porn on their mobile phones and tablets. Desktop is the least preferred device to watch porn. It also revealed that in India, people mostly watch porn on Saturday.

After the epilogue

Some years back a court gave a judgement against homosexuality and termed it as ‘unethical’ and ‘immoral’. A number of TV discussions followed after the verdict and in one such discussion one LGBTQ activist said that if he is a homosexual, then no law can stop him from being one. In the similar manner, if one watches porn, then no ban can stop him from doing so. The correlation between watching porn and rape, which Vaswani brought forward, is just a myth and a hypothetical concept and it has no base of reality at all. If watching porn makes one immoral and his social and cultural values degrade, then I would blame the Indian society and its values for being so weak.

A country where the dreaded gangsters are glorified through movies, biopics are made on Indian porn actress of the yesteryear, literotica has been existing since a century and the country that gave the world’s first and best sexual manual, bans porn in the name of preserving culture. A country where godmen are accused of rape and molestation and the spiritual gurus are charged with charges of corruption of various sorts, believes that pornography is responsible for all the evils. A country in which a local community court (Viz: Khap Panchayat) bothers least about a woman’s sanity and takes no time in pronouncing a verdict against girls who committed no crime, some individual belonging to the  educated class  feel that porn will destroy it’s integrity.

If we are so very cultured then why can’t we stand by our sisters and mothers when they are raped by some sexually starved beasts? Before banning porn, why are such organisations like the Khap and political leaders making derogatory comments on women not taught a lesson? That is a tougher thing to do as I guess that will result in whipping around 80 per cent of the total Indian population and 95 per cent of total Indian male.

Anyhow, the things have changed finally and the porn ban has been lifted and all those avid porn lovers thank the government for now you know 857 sites- names of most of which were oblivious to you till now. Enjoy your watch, waste your time but please be a responsible viewer and do not harass the women on the streets or the wives/husbands on your beds. Let peace prevail!



Hindustan Times

Dainik Bhaskar

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