I am angry. Very, very angry.
I feel a blood curdling rage as I read the phrases ‘JNU sex scandal’, ‘JNU pornographic MMS’ and the like. (ref.) What is the scandal? That adults in India have sex? Or that two consenting adults had pre-marital sex? Were they ‘caught’ or ‘involved’ in some sort of criminal activity? Or did they record a clip and sell it, thus rendering it pornographic content? Even after a closer inspection of the stories carried by the major leading newspapers in Delhi (The Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindu and Hindustan Times), I fail to pick out a problematic area which would bring out a conflict and thus render this ‘story’ anything more than just an outcome of a flawed editorial policy.
For starters, it is highly imperative that we question exactly why this became news. Why was this piece carried as a front page story on the aforementioned newspapers when there were other more important things happening in the world? And we still label two consenting adults who have sex as ‘perverts’?
I am incensed that people are speaking out against “degenerate morals of the students of this elite University who indulge in such filthy acts” (a comment on The Indian Express website) and not questioning the very newspaper that brings the story to them. What about all those people who displayed a disgusting amount of perversion by trying to find the clip online? Oh but no, those are not the perverts. They are just by-products of a culture that is focussed on categorising sex as a purely biological act, a culture that seeks as much to dismiss all rational thought when it comes to sex, a culture that brands sex as ‘immoral’. So let’s do the needful. Let’s do as the culture dictates. Let us participate in a mass ostracization programme. It is only fitting, after all!
I am angry. I am angry that I feel a sense of crumbling despair. I’m anxious. I know that somewhere, we are all party to the notion of constructing new boundaries, to the notion of easy invasion into our lives. The realisation that we all have effectively lost all privacy, has hit home hard. It’s not just about public portals any more. Anyone can take a picture, a video or an amorous conversation and put it up for the world to see. Everyone you know will read it. They will watch it. They will torture you, condemn you. And then they will label you. Put you in a sad little compartment that they have titled in the choicest of words. But they’re never wrong. No, how could we even suggest that they could be? No, you’re not a victim. You’re the accused. You’re the degenerate they ‘fear’. They can get you expelled, they can get you shunned by your family, they will get you fired, they can rape you in the name of honour, they can successfully destroy whatever semblance of a normal life you have. They say you brought it upon yourself. They say you signed up for it. You want to maul them. But they’ve left you amputated.
I’m furious. I know I have a right to be. I urge you, too, to be angry.
(First published on the author’s blog here.)