How did India become so prudish?

Some very sexual temple carvings in India. How did India get so closed-minded about that?

Hinduism is a religion known for its open mind about sex and sexual pleasure. Hell, they made the Kama Sutra, and they invented Tantra, and whether you think it’s an erotic spirituality or not, it is pretty sensual nonetheless. India, on the other hand, seems to have lost respect for the open-mindedness of what is the biggest religion in their country. Maybe it’s their interactions with the Abrahamic faiths in their history, and the damage the British empire did to Indian religion (although getting rid of widow burning was one good move), but the fact is that today, politicians and politicial opportunists paint themselves as petty moral guardians, and self-appointed “morality police” crack down on sexual honesty and liberty as “against Indian culture and morality”, despite its historical place in Indian culture, religion, and tradition. Politicians in India, as well as Pakistan, frequently try to censor the Internet and dictating what people can and can’t view there. There’s even cops cracking down on India’s nightlife and youth culture, and doing it quite rudely too. And for what? “Protecting the innocence of India’s youth”? “Indian morality”? Ladies and gentleman, this is the same crap that still haunts our judgement in Western society, though probably with even more disregard for freedom than the West could hope for.

Here’s an example. In 2005, the South Indian film star Khushboo Sundar encouraged spreading awareness of AIDS and the need to practice safe sex. She also supported pre-marital sex, so long as the particpants of said sex took precautions for protected sex. Two entire political parties called her out for it and socially conservative political groups apparently staged rowdy demonstrations, pelted her with tomatoes, rotten eggs, and abuse, and filed over 24 defamation and public interest suits. She was initially arrested, but authorities then released her on a $100 bail and ordered her to “keep her mouth shut”. Even the chief minister of Tamil Nadu condemned her and not even India’s health minister, Anbumani Ramadoss, supported her. According to him, they apparently don’t even talk about AIDS in India. And as we all know, not talking about AIDS greatly contributes to the spread of AIDS, same with other sexually-transmitted infections.

India tends to silence women who hold frank views on sex, and the conservative middle class in India get scared about losing “the traditional Indian family” whenever women express and assert their sexuality. Indian society these days also does not approve of pre-marital sex. Sound familiar? It should, it’s a lot like Christian or Western morality. But that’s the least of our problems here, this time. Because of India’s apparent disapproval of pre-marital sex, you have to do it undercover if you want to do it there. What happens if you don’t? You get killed. It’s true. And what’s worse, you get killed by your own family. That’s right, so-called honour killing prevails here.

An example is when two young people fell in love and planned to get married, but one of their fathers, a former armyman, had opposed their love affair and used his background in the army and contacts to get them arrested, then tried the two in a “home-made” court with the father acting as judge, and their own friends and family acting as the jury. He sentenced them to death and had them hanged, for falling in love. And nobody stopped him. What a pathetic mockery!

So what is the cause? Maybe it’s Islamic influence in the country over the years since Muslim invasions of India, maybe it’s British interference from when they conquered India during their time of empire, or maybe it’s rapid economic changes. Personally, I think India’s copying Western morality, along with influences from Muslim countries, shaming their own culture in the process. Why would they do that? It’s probably to do with the success of America and it’s reach in the rest of the world. Other nations end up trying to copy America, and India is apparently no exception. The end result is the fall and disgrace of Indian culture and India’s mass forgetting of what made it great in the past.

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8 responses to “How did India become so prudish?

  1. Umm, India has always been against premarital sex. You have to understand that Hinduism is an umbrella term for various religions (Vashnaivism, Shaivism, Shaktism, etc.) During the time of the Buddha, Shramanism was having a major impact on Vedicism (the precursor to modern day Hinduism.) Introducing concepts such as reincarnation, karma, enlightenment.
    The Tantric religions usually practiced worship of Rudra and/or Shakti. They were opposed by Brahminism, which was beginning to absorb Shramana ideas. Tantra and Brahminism are/were two different religions.

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