arvind and sunny

Left: Arvind Kejriwal
Right: Sunny Leone, who remains India’s most popular porn star despite quitting the industry

Over the years, Arvind Kejriwal has been bestowed many names – anarchist, upstart, populist, rebel, U-turn master, dictator, cough syrup enthusiast – but I never thought he’d be accused of making porn more accessible. That’s right, a BJP spokesperson, Nalin S Mehta, writing an op-ed for NDTV.com, points out that if AAP stick to their plan to give Delhi free wifi, it might encourage youngsters to watch porn on the streets of Delhi which will in turn will affect safety and security. I mean electricity and water is fine, but free porn, no one will ever vote him out of power, no matter how many intellectuals call him a tyrant. 

Mehta wrote in the piece criticising the 100-day AAP government: ‘The first 100 days of the AAP in government are now over. The easiest part, of doling out subsidised water and electricity, have been implemented. Where the funds to maintain machinery and mechanisms will come from is not clear. Another populist promise of free Wi-Fi in public spaces across Delhi is said to be on the cards in the near future. What effect that will have on safety and security, with free porn available to watch for idle youth at every street corner, is yet to be even considered.’

Now it’s a time-honoured political tradition for opposition parties to be critical of the party in power.  Congress led by Rahul Gandhi have been lambasting the Narendra Modi government after it completed a year (conveniently forgetting they have been the ruling party for the last decade), while the BJP is doing the same for the 100-day AAP government but the accusation of making porn more accessible is as flimsy as it gets!

This is seriously one of the daftest things that anyone from the BJP has said this year and this includes some very, very stupid comments. Of course we can understand the conundrum because politicians do get caught viewing porn in parliament, but for most normal people, we like to watch porn in the confines of our home, not random street corners! (Read: Mirror, mirror on the wall, who said the stupidest thing of them all?)

 Porn and Sunny Leone – destroying India’s moral fabric!

Sunny Leone

It’s hilarious how many members of our upright society are so bothered about porn when the nation struggles to deal with more pressing issues like female foeticide, malnutrition, poverty, Saajid Khan making movies and Kamaal R Khan tweeting. This paranoia exists without any real research to back it up. Despite the lack of causal connection, people are convinced that the biggest problem that our society faces is porn (marital rape, on the other hand, is still A-okay)!

How else do you explain the sudden spate of FIRs filed against former adult star Sunny Leone? Like Hrithik Roshan’s sudden realisation about The Dress after three months, members of the public and some right-wing groups suddenly woke up to the fact that Miss Leone is alive and kicking in India. One of them was Arinjay Jain in Ajmer City who filed an FIR against Miss Leone, Google’s CEO and a Bollywood magazine for spreading obscenity. According to the allegedly upright Mr Jain, he bought a magazine which had obscene photos of Miss Leone, and he actually followed a website link given in the magazine and found more obscene pictures of the actress of the internet, following which he registered an FIR with the police (say what you will but you have to give Mr Jain credit for his perseverance, because as digital marketers will tell you, no one, no one follows a link which is mentioned offline).

Earlier, Sri Ram Sene leader Pramod Muthalik (whose organisation is best known for beating up women who drink in pubs), claimed that Miss Leone’s videos were the reason for an increase in rapes, kidnappings and murder. He was quoted saying: ‘Her (pornographic) videos are more popular than today’s item songs; she is more popular than Narendra Modi and has a larger fan base.’ Is that what this is really about, that dear leader is less popular than Miss Leone?

Earlier, a Mumbai housewife filed an obscenity charge against Sunny who claimed that she found pornographic material on her website while surfing the net. The Dombivali woman claimed: ‘Such posts poison the minds of people and especially children. This actor is coming here and displaying vulgarity. Bollywood films could earlier be watched with families. Today we cannot see them with our families. When I visited her website I found that it was not fit for viewing. That’s why I lodged this complaint’.

Is porn actually bad for you?

Is it?

It has been, for a while, fashionable to blame everything from the rise of sexual assaults to impotency on porn (this is not just an India-specific problem). However, researchers are of the opinion that there’s nothing to suggest that porn addiction is any way, a real illness, similar to say drug or alcohol addiction. David Ley, a clinical psychologist was quoted saying: ‘There was no sign that use of pornography is connected to erectile dysfunction or that it causes any changes to the brains of users.’  But India seems to be convinced that porn is a big problem and the Supreme Court actually asked the Centre to ban porn (April 28, 2014) to which the Centre replied: ‘No-can-do’s-ville, baby doll.’ (Ok, I might be paraphrasing). But the Centre did say that banning porn would be very, very hard (particularly given its popularity with the political class).

Now speaking from a personal perspective, watching porn was a rite of passage to adulthood, similar to smoking a cigarette, and despite what some might think, we turned out fine. The only side-effect seemed to be that we want silly things like freedom of expression et al (and like the people who claim porn is bad, I have no statistics to back up this statement).

PS — I will leave you with a hilarious take on the porn ban by AIB.