Why Women Politicians in India Grow Penises!

Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi with Indian women supporters

I was watching Eve Ensler, author of ‘Vagina Monlogues’ on an Indian T.V. channel around the time of the December 2012 Delhi Gang Rape uprisings, and she was asked what she thought might help stop violence against women in India.  One of her suggestions was what most western feminists advocate  often, “Get more women in.”  Into government, police – positions of power and decision making.

But the fact is that in India we’ve had women in positions of power for long — and this theory of women in power as a means of betterment of women just DOES NOT WORK IN INDIA!  After all we’ve had a female head of state, Indira Gandhi.  Her daughter-in-law, Sonia Gandhi, is the biggest political force in India, bigger than even the Prime Minister, India’s head-of-state, who she hand-picked for the position, and who she strings along like a puppet.  Indeed, she’s been voted the 6th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine, more powerful even than Michelle Obama!

But this is what is strange.  (more…)

India’s Rejection of Homosexuality has no Cultural Basis!

Proud Grand Mother

photo by Ramesh Lalwani

There has been a furious public response on the net over the law in Uganda that intends to impose the “death penalty” (death by stoning!) for homosexuality.  Uganda  probably won’t  implement the death penalty, at least not openly, given that western countries like the U.S. have threatened to withdraw millions of dollars in aid.

However there are at least 7 countries in the world which have the death penalty for homosexuality, and these include  Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, United Arab Emirates, Sudan, Nigeria, Mauritania.   Now these nations haven’t faced the same threats from the western countries because — well some of them are sitting on large reserves of oil that literally runs the wheels of many western economies, and there may be other more important political interests than protecting the gay communities from the hideous destiny of being stoned to death.

And besides these countries, there are many more countries where homosexuality is still a criminal offense.  In India this law (Sect 377 of the Indian Penal Code) was struck down by the Delhi Court in 2009, and later in 2012, the Supreme Court of India observed that traditionally homosexuality was not an offense (legal or social) in India before the British rulers decided to impose a new law in India in 1860 criminalizing it.

Indeed while researching for my book Sex and Power, I was amazed at the normalcy with which both homosexuality and homosexual acts between individuals (regardless of their sexuality), was treated in ancient India.  It is depicted (more…)

India’s Confusion Over “Sexy”

If “SEX” is a four-lettered word in India, it’s not hard to believe the confusion that the extra alphabet in “SEXY” has  recently caused.

The chairperson of India’s National Commission For Women, Mamta Sharma stirred up a hornet’s nest when while speaking at a function for women she said“Boys pass comments on girls terming them sexy but sexy means beautiful and charming. We should not see it in negative sense.”  She then went on to describe a scenario which basically amounts to street sexual harassment — of a bunch of guys, calling out “sexy” at a woman walking by.

Now if Ms. Sharma expects that woman to smile and courtesy her thank you to these men, she too is clearly confused about what SEXY means!

The online dictionary gives three definitions of ‘sexy’ along with their usage in sentences for all those who are (more…)

Holi: India’s Forgotten Valentine’s Festival!

Unknown to many, the festival of Holi is actually a celebration of  India’s ancient Valentine’s Day!

It was called ‘The Festival of The Love God,’ and was celebrated to coincide with the arrival of Spring (symbolic of lust and life) just as the western Valentine’s Day is!

Below is an excerpt from my book Sex and Power on this festival:

rati kama redKama, the love god, was [evoked]…in the celebratory tribal songs of the Holi festival…[along] with his consort Rati (sexual pleasure).  His return to life…would be celebrated (each year) during Holi, which coincides with the spring season, [a symbolism of]..rejuvenation and fertility. 

The celebrations were called ‘Mojin Kama’ (Playing with Desire), [also referred to as ‘The Feast of Love’] and entailed songs with erotic lyrics and dances with unabashedly sexual gestures…as people jubilantly doused each other with perfumed water and coloured powders…The sacred text Shaiva Agama instructed that the Feast of Love was to be celebrated with playing (colored) dyes and the use of sexually explicit language.

In this period (100 A.D. to 1500 A.D.)…kama evolved as a complex concept, which besides love, [also included] the notions of love, passion, desire and sensuality. In fact, kama became a predominant philosophy of this era, influencing all aspects of life, including religion.

 Lord Kama came to be regarded as the divine inspiration for humanity. The concept of kama as love-making was said to have been propagated by the gods themselves. It was believed to be their gift to humankind…

rati-kamaIndeed, sensuality in this period became the quintessence of general living. There were architectural structures that were specifically designed to pander to love-making, customarily used in both public and private spaces. The homes of the middle class would have love chambers…[whose] decor included erotic sculptures in wood and stone, sensual paintings, and images of  Rati carved on the doorways.  The rooms were sprayed with fragrance, decorated with flowers and furnished with large canopied beds…, musical instruments, books of sensual poetry and literature…so lovers could spend many leisurely hours…engaged in the game of seduction…

Palaces were more lavish in their erotic decor… For the nobles and wealthier upper class, it was customary to own what was called ‘a hill for sports.’ This consisted of a hill, sometimes artificially created, with a mansion built on it…The mansions were splendid…[and] a special feature of the mansion was a jeweled bench for love-making…

Public art galleries were also meeting places for lovers…Even public gardens had special provisions for couples, with wooden pavilions constructed under bowers of vines or leaves where lovers could spend time. These love nests, which held special couches, were supplied with aphrodisiacs, ivory-handled fans and scented water to create a romantic ambiance.

In terms of social etiquette, it was permissible for people to revel openly in the pleasures of their sex life. Love bites were worn like trophies by young men and women, to be shown off later to friends as proof of their lover’s passion...

[Excerpt from Sex and Power: Defining History, Shaping Societies, Penguin Global, 2009, pp.125-130]

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