Saturday, October 14, 2006

Fundamentalisms and sexuality By Maya Indira Ganesh

Confronted with chaos, the fundamentalist believes that his role is to protect and defend his tradition, fighting back with absolutism and violence. The uncontrolled woman, the woman with rampant sexuality, the outsider, the migrant, is the most tangible symbol of chaos, and the easiest to control

Anyone who has grown up in an Indian household has to have heard this at some stage of growing up. Indians are obsessed with purity. And as humans we are in love with our neat little binaries. The amorphous, the shadowy, and the unclear inspire a deep fear in the human brain that is trained to simplify. The world is thus conveniently ordered into right and wrong, dirty and clean, black and white.

In recent events that smack of this desire for purity, Dr Sanjay Aparanti, a doctor turned IPS officer recently appointed to the Mumbai police, initiated a campaign “…to rid Mumbai of all obscenity”. This drive, led by Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister R R Patil, and supported by Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, called for the shutting down of dance bars in and around the city of Mumbai. Film posters that show too much skin and sex also came under the state's purity Geiger. The state's concern is that youth are being “led astray” by a surfeit of sexual content in public and media spaces. Small wonder that no one asked the youth what they think. Or that we have no alternative other than to scissor out what we deem offensive. more....


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