Monday, July 9, 2012

PORNGATE


The other night I had a dream. A stage was set for me. I was going to perform, after a long time. I was under the belief that I had faded into oblivion as a blogger, and this belief was about to change. In my last post, I had said that I will get back to blogging regularly. That last post was in January. We are in July.

But the dream turned into a nightmare. I confidently stepped up on the blogging stage and took a deep breath reminiscing the lost days of my glory. I took to the mike and yelled, “Yo Bloggers!”.

What followed next was a herd of stones being pelted at me by the crowd. One third of the audience was mad at me for promising to get regular and not keeping up. One third consisted of the new bloggers on the block, who knew squat about who the fat weirdo on stage was. And the remaining one third didn’t care.

I did notice that a few stone throwers were such that their own blogs had become more deserted that their Orkut Scrapbooks, at which I started catching those stones and throwing back at them.

So this time I won’t commit the stupidity of announcing that I am back. Let it be a mystery. Is this a blue moon appearance? Is he finally back for good? Will I finally get to sleep with him? I leave all my blog buddies to ponder upon these questions. (I would prefer bloggers of only the feminine gender to ponder upon the last one).

This is not exactly a blog-post blog-post. Magna Publications, the firm that churns out magazines like Stardust, Society, Savvy, Health, etc. has recently launched Mandate Magazine in India. And I got the opportunity to get contribute an article to them. (When you Google, please type ‘Mandate Magazine India’. Searching only for ‘Mandate Magazine’ would make you judge my character.)
So here is the article I wrote for Mandate.


‘Sex life of Politicians.’ What image do these four words bring to your mind? A babu clad in white kurta pyjama and Nehru cap, in a lavish private room of a luxury hotel, along with a high profile escort, right? This is the image that Madhur Bhandarkar and RGV movies have painted of the secret lives of our MPs and MLAs. So if this is the case, then why would they feel the need to watch porn? And that too in the midst of a parliamentary assembly!

For those living in a cave, three BJP ministers were recently caught enjoying pornography on a cell phone, in the Karnataka parliament, while the assembly was in session. As a consequence, these three ministers were asked to voluntarily quit their posts. Moreover, there has been an outrage over this incident from right activists, right wing Hindu groups, and the ruling Congress party. Thankfully, all these ministers had both their hands visible when their flimsy act was being recorded by the media from above, which saved them further embarrassment.
Now before we dissect this matter further, let’s enjoy the ironies associated with this case.

1) The assembly in which these ministers were caught was in the midst of a heated discussion about the drought situation in the state, as these ministers sat back like the back benchers in a boring lecture, trying to find out solutions for their own physical droughts.
2) The prime musketeer in this trio, on whose phone the clip was being played, is Laxman Savadi, the Karnataka Minister for Cooperation. And the clip being watched was of a woman being ‘cooperatively’ gang-raped by a few men.
3) Another culprit was C. C. Patil, the Minister for Women and Child Welfare, who had recently suggested that women should dress modestly if they don’t want to be harassed.
4) This incident happened in Karnataka, the same state where in a pub a few goons of Sri Ram Sena had attacked and manhandled women, because they were culturally misbehaving.
5) This irony is unrelated, but worth sharing. The Indian law on pornography and obscenity was passed in 1969.

But the mother of all ironies was when an Indonesian MP belonging to an Islamic party that campaigns for an anti-pornography legislation was caught watching porn in parliament. Well at least in this case we can give him the benefit of doubt that he was trying to research his subject matter.

Watching porn at workplace is not a new phenomenon for Indians. Porn is rampantly downloaded, exchanged and watched in offices and colleges. To verify this, ask any guy out of the blue to lend his pen drive to you, and what follows is a series of hesitations and excuses, unless of course he has deleted the porn. Porn is as easily accessible in India as bottled water, not just to sleazy politicos but to children and adults alike. Google trends show that the search volume for the word ‘porn’ has doubled in India between 2010 and 2012. Seven Indian cities are amongst the top ten in the world on porn search, and a quarter of the mobile users in India want adult content on their 3G enabled phones.

And it is for this very reason I believe that we should not be too harsh in judging these three. We are being the biggest hypocrites when we judge these ministers to be hypocrites. No, I am not supporting their act. And nor am I a BJP spokesperson or supporter. What they did was unethical and immoral, and they being made to resign was indeed the apt punishment. However, what they did was something most of us do in our daily lives. They were just unfortunate to be caught.

If we look at this whole incident as three people caught watching porn at their workplace rather than three ministers caught watching porn in the parliament, then it tones down the bizarreness of the issue, while maintaining the seriousness. We hear about many such incidences where employees are given warnings or pink slips if caught watching “ashleel” content in the office. But as a famous quote from a movie goes, ‘With great power, comes great responsibility’, and with great responsibility comes the fact that even your private nose digging in the washroom, if caught on tape, would be the headlines for the coming day. I’m sure that at right now, the only thing these ministers would be thinking about is, ‘Main karu toh saala, character dheela hai!’

I feel that at this very moment, every person reading this should pause that ‘My Friends Hot Mom’ clip on his laptop for a while and sit and think whether it is right to judge with such scrutiny these three ministers for getting caught watching porn? Or are we being unnecessarily harsh on them? Do that while I go and check out the latest Naughty America flick a colleague gave me in office today.

So like a typical Indian politician, I shall now promise that I will be regular on my blog again. And once I receive all your comments and likes for this post, I shall again retreat into hibernation.
*Evil Mandark Laughter*

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