Hardik Patel's Alleged Sex Tape: Most Indians Okay With Snooping But Not Pre-Marital Sex
The country has been discussing on the alleged ‘sex tapes’ of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor, Hardik Patel that has been making rounds for some time now. Released on social media, the video showed nothing except a man in his shorts sitting in a hotel room with a woman. The video emerged on social media at the opportune moment of Gujarat elections and is expected to have lasting impact on people and their voting behaviour.
Character assassination of Hardik Patel followed soon after and questions were raised about his calibre as a leader – all because the video circulated purportedly indicated that the man shown is Hardik Patel was allegedly involved in having sex.
And why was that?
Because Indians still cannot come to terms with the fact that adults have all the right to have consensual sex.
We are a country who think it is against our culture and traditions to involve in sex before marriage. But, surprisingly, we also belong to that group who do not think twice before embarrassing a newlywed with the questions like: “Toh khush khabri kabb mil rahi hai?” (When do I get the good news?) indicating at the birth of a prospective heir to the family.
Why then does having sex suddenly become ‘good news’? The answer is simple – having sex post marriage is usually for producing babies, and even if it is not, the society is ready to cut some slack on this quarter assuming that the primary goal was to reproduce and not pleasure.
The Indian society passes judgemental comments on live-in relationships as they feel such relationships go against the sanskaar (moral values). But we do not mind crossing the fine line of propriety and snooping on someone’s private life to know with whom the person is having sex- even if it leads to a suicide as it was in the case of homosexual Professor Siras from Aligarh Muslim University.
The situation is such that no one is questioning who filmed the video; why was it done and to what end? Everyone, including ‘responsible’ media channels are pointing a finger at Hardik Patel. Our self-righteousness and ‘holier than thou’ attitude about sex comes in the way when something like this crops up. In spite of knowing that it is a normal, biological process, we cringe at the word and try to place ourselves at a higher pedestal by claiming we have not been a party to such ‘immoral’ acts. While doing so, we do not spare a moment to vindicate and slut shame someone who is open about his/her sexual life.
This attitude is not something that is found only in rural India but thrives among the urban and so-called educated as well.
Also, voyeurism is something we take pleasure in and that is why people, still, are finding faults with the alleged sex and not with the snooping. These tendencies are only fanned when television channels portray the video as something heinous and hence, should be looked down upon.
When two flowers come close, and hands get clasped
Such is the discomfort of the Indian society with sex that even married couples feel uncomfortable when they stay in cramped place with joint families. Everyone knows, everyone is aware but even then, there is this persistent but subtle shaming of couples who indulge in consensual sex only for pleasure. How difficult is to accept that consensual sex is not criminal?
Bollywood gives in to the popular ideas and uses imageries and metaphors to imply that actors have gotten physically intimate. And what else would you do if you know that films would be banned/ censored if it is slightly ‘lady-oriented’ or talks of sexual desire?
But why is sex so scandalous?
Ever thought why a simple bodily need is regarded as scandalous? Two consenting adults have decided to give in to their sexual desires – does that concern anyone else’s permission or sanction?
The answer is a big NO. Victorian prudery has led us to believe that ‘losing one’s virginity’ is a big issue – only if virginity resided in our genitalia!
It is essential to understand that sex is overrated. So when Hardik Patel was unapologetic about the entire ‘sex scandal’ issue, it acted as a blow to those who thought that revealing a sex tape would serve as a major blow.
Patel said that those videos are morphed, but he also raised a simple and important question: “I want to ask, can’t a 23-year-old youth have girlfriends?”
Well said Hardik, but who are we fooling here? Are not these the people who think that couples going out on Valentine’s Day need to be married off, because, you know, marriage is the panacea for everything? Or the same people who arranged Anti-Romeo squad to, well, prevent people in love to enjoy their time together?
It is high time that we crawl out of the cocoon of shyness and accept the fact that adults in India have sex, enjoy sex as much as any other person in the world does. There is nothing wrong in involving in a consensual act and no one has the right to film such intimate moments of anyone’s life. The Supreme Court’s watershed judgement upholding the right to privacy goes for a toss in India when it comes to premarital sex.
Also, those who think that releasing an alleged sex tape can ‘tarnish’ a person’s reputation, they are blissfully unaware that having consensual sex in the privacy of one’s room is not criminal. Whatever be our political affiliation, it is essential that we do not consider a consensual act of sex as something scornful.