Indian Sex Psyche in a Digital Native Society

A 15-minute clip from Ina, a 1982 Malayalam film by popular director I.V. Sasi that deals with youthful lust and child marriage, is the most viewed Indian video on YouTube. It has more than 117 million views, and it appears to be the only Indian video to have more than a 100 million YouTube views.

Ina was a trendsetting movie which received many positive reviews during a time when even talking about sex was considered as a taboo in Kerala. Many parents of the 80’s were reluctant to send their kids to watch this movie as they thought it would corrupt their children. “My mom was an adherent moviegoer. She never stopped us from watching movies, but when Ina released, she was so unyielding to our requests and every time she came up with some kind of excuse. Only later in our life did we understand the real cause of her worry” says Jayasree who is now 50.

But what makes the movie so popular on the YouTube four decades after its release? Why are the other classics of Padmarajan and Bharathan not among the list of top ten most viewed video on YouTube? And the bigger question is why only 15 minutes not the whole movie getting the maximum hits? The answer is hidden inside the top ten Malayalam videos on YouTube; they are all Blue Films.

The case of other language videos is not different, they all feature similar keywords like Sex, Hot and Masala.

This reminds me of a case where three Ministers from Karnataka were expelled from the Legislative Assembly after the CCTV footage caught them watching pornography while the assembly proceedings were in full swing. Interestingly one of them handled the portfolio of Women and Child Development Ministry. When Google India released the report of the most searched personality of 2013 in last December, the Indo-Canadian former pornographic actress Sunny Leone was way ahead of Shah Rukh Kahan and Sachin Tendulkar. The Google trends report shows that the volume of search for the term “porn” has more than doubled since 2010 – 2013. These reports indicate that porn is freely available to anyone in India who has access to internet, regardless to their sex and age.

The writing on the wall is so clear; the number of people who are becoming addicts of pornographic videos and the increase in cases related to sexual abuse in India are in a proportionally high level.

New technology in the hands of the young, who uses it irresponsibly, could lead to a catastrophe. The new generation (which the techies call as the “digital natives”), are less guided by their parents and teachers (tagged as digital immigrants) as they are less informed about the new world of gadgetry. Teens have an inquisitive mind, which is controlled by peer pressure. But when pornography becomes their answer for sexual inquisitiveness, they become perverts. MMS Porn videos of students, circulating in schools in Kerala have been reported many times by the media. In some cases the victims have even went to the extent of committing suicide. According to a study conducted on 1000 students of both sex, 47% of high school boys and 29% of high school girls talk about porn in their classrooms.

What is more startling is the kind of videos the young prefer to watch. According to webmaster report of a website, the keywords searched for entering a porn site has changed over the last few years. A few years back people used short keywords like Rape, penetration, oral, anal, lesbian, gay etc. to make their porn search, but now the terms have become more violent and inhuman, with the user searching for what exactly he/she needs.

In India watching porn is considered legal but distributing or publishing pornographic content is considered as a crime under laws laid down in Sec.292 of the Indian Penal Code, which came about by Act 36 of 2000. According to Alexa Ranking of top 500 Indian Website 24 are porn sites. The legal machinery in India has failed to take action against these sites that even publish child pornography. A report of Optenet says, 40% of the web is made up of pornographic sites. As the WWW is open to all, including teens to consume porn materials, these sites are just a click away from reaching them. The search for these sites begins with simple googling of their peer doubts, which can be answered if they are given proper awareness in schools.

A few years back when the Government of Kerala introduced Adolescent Education Programme on the recommendation of UNESCO there was stiff opposition from the church saying the programme will lead to “sexual anarchy” in the state. The programme was intended to give awareness about sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases to class IX and class XI students of more than 4,000 high schools and higher secondary schools. Due to controversies the programme didn’t took off in Kerala. The same happened in the states of Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. But Tamil Nadu implemented this programme long back in 1997 and it has been proved successful.

India lacks Sex education; this is a fact which is overlooked during discussions on fighting rape and other cases of sexual abuse. Rather than fighting for a law to castrate the rapist or to hang him, the discussions should extend to a broader platform were in we can put a cap on the root so that further growth is restricted for ever. Moreover sex education in schools will also reduce the number of HIV cases in India. According to Government reports 40% of the total HIV affected people are under the age group of 15-29.

An Indian American News Website reported the trend of watching pornographic videos is synonymous to all states in India but higher in the state of Kerala, which boasts about the high literacy rate.

The YouTube videos and their counts is a direct reflection of the sexually frustrated Indian youth. If this trend continuous for a long time the result would be a million youth with unusual behaviour. As a country which boasts about its youth as the way forward in achieving global leadership, Indian government should take Sex Education seriously at the earliest.

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