Recent unravelling of the Raj Kundra porn video business on online streaming platforms has raised many tantalizing questions on the effectiveness of the Indian judiciary. It is indeed shameful and comical to know that the judiciary is confused as to the definition of “pornography” and “obscene” and specific laws under which to prosecute Kundra and Co.
Why do porn industries flourish?
Leaving prosecution and dissemination of judgement to more able individuals than me, I would like to raise few points about the other side of the coin: The Indian porn consumer base. If Raj Kundra was able to lure financially compromised girls into creating obscene content and sell them for millions, then why did he succeed? Markets thrive where there is demand - indeed, the fundamental basis of capitalism. Pornhub yearly statistics reveal Indian consumers on the site has been on a consistent rise. And that is just one provider.
To Kama Sutra or not to Kama Sutra…
Try initiating a conversation on sex (or anything that has even a distant sexual connotation) with your parents and expect varying degrees of indifference, loathe or repulsion. Isn’t this a glaring contradiction at the very heart of Indian ideals? What kind of society are we that fail to show the maturity to acknowledge our identity yet feel tempted to privately watch strangers in sexual acts? What kind of precedence are we setting for posterity? What kind of environment that stifles conversation about an aspect of human life that’s as important as food or housing? Most people will shrug at these questions because they’re not “comfortable” and doesn’t comply with their mental model of the world (Don’t just nod along, it’s very difficult to assess one’s own self).
All the damage we don’t see
Our culture has encouraged us being tight lipped about our own sexual pleasures and desires. That has led to grown-up adults believing it is safer to consume obscenity in the privacy of our rooms than to garner social disapproval by acknowledging them. What we don’t see, in our myopic decision, is the larger, grimmer reality behind our insecurity. A base like India creates immense demand in the industry and we don’t turn to think for once the trafficking rackets and porn industries that we are feeding. Videos are virtually indestructible. What about the dignity of those girls? What we don’t see is the hundreds of Kundras operating today stashing cash in their foreign bank accounts, feeding on our desires and the helplessness of those girls. What we see is the bluish screen, the comfortable privacy and a pack of tissue nearby. And that to me is outright cowardice.
Can we do anything?
Markets are fed by scarcity of resources. Sex sells because people are unwilling to talk about it. To borrow from the 1998 Pepsi commercial, ye dil maange more.
I can seriously go on and on about the destructive and depraved nature of porn. Creating fantastical expectations from real sex and women. Patronising women. Creating unrealistic mental images for what a woman is like. One of the reasons of rising crime rates against women. You get the point. It’s a keystone demon in society. I strongly believe that once we de-stigmatise sex in the Indian mind (Not an easy task), people will turn away from these nefarious services and reach out to real people in the real world with a sound understanding of responsibilities and expectations involved.
All that being said, outlook of people are changing and that is a positive sign. We need more forums to voice such questions and enable more individuals to ponder about their rights, sexual and otherwise. And I hope the court can come to a sensible conclusion and hammer down sharply on Mr. Kundra for his lowlife ventures.