Porn free, but everyone in chains
Truth is, can anyone watch porn and be impervious to it? Porn leaves a mark on men and women alike.
Speaking out against pornography is a bit like hurling yourself against a tsunami wave in the hope of sending it back where it came from. But if you think that’s going to stop me from speaking, perish the thought. In the last few days, we’ve heard all the arguments as to why pornographic websites should not be banned.
Let me begin with the tidal wave of an argument that it’s not wrong to watch porn within the confines of one’s home. My only problem with this is that the porn-watcher has to, at some point in time, step out of his home, his head full of smut, his body floating in hormonal hell. At best, he’ll leer at the next woman he sees. At worst, he’ll violate her in unimaginable ways. Ted Bundy was one such person. Let me tell you his story if you haven’t heard it already.
Bundy was a 42-year-old American rapist, kidnapper, necrophile and serial killer who tortured and killed numerous young women and children in the 70s and 80s, before he was caught, tried and executed in 1989. There’s not much to take away from his life except an interview he gave to psychologist Dr James Dobson, hours before he died.
Asked about what prompted him to rape women, Bundy said the roots went back to when he was 12 and stumbled on pornographic magazines at the local grocery store. From then on, it was a journey downhill – “The more I read, the more I wanted to read. Once I was addicted, I needed more vulgar stuff.” And it wasn’t just him. Bundy said, “I have lived in prison for a long time now. I’ve met lots of men who were driven to violence just like me. Without exception, every one of them was deeply involved in pornography.”
And the blame, according to Bundy, lay squarely with society. As he put it, “Society should be rid of criminals like me. But is not fair that society should condemn people like me, while doing nothing to stop the spread of pornography.”
This was nearly 30 years ago when magazines were, by and large, the source of all porn. Today, porn has spread its tentacles and lies not on the racks of bookstores, but in the palms of your hands. It’s much more private, more easily accessible and lives with you all the time.
That’s the difference between Bundy’s time and ours, but the similarity is that we still have well-meaning, decent people condemning the behaviour of rapists and molesters while becoming apoplectic at the mere mention of banning porn sites. They find no connection between pornography and sexual violence. They quote research – funded, in all likelihood, by one of the stakeholders in this multi-billion dollar industry – to prove their point.
But the truth is, can anyone watch porn and remain im-pervious to it? Porn leaves a mark on men and women alike, as surely as a good book or movie can be a life-changing experience. You don’t need research to prove that. Bundy didn’t. He knew.
Porn and prostitution
Closer to our time, in the aftermath of Nirbhaya’s brutal rape, a national news magazine carried a story of how porn has changed the way the world’s oldest profession functions. It spoke of how men now visited Mumbai’s red-light districts, armed with pornographic video clips.
Sex was no longer sex – it was becoming increasingly bizarre, violent and unpalatable. Sometimes, it was consensual, many times it was not. Beyond the red-light districts, the victims included innocent women on silent streets, a young woman on a lonely Delhi bus, innocent children in schools and even toddlers.
I deal with about 500 young women in the age group of 18-23 years on a daily basis. And this swimming against the tsunami is really for them. Though some of them, like their counterparts elsewhere, will probably be talking about freedom of expression and how porn shouldn’t be banned, little do they know that it’s actually begging for the unleashing of sexual violence.
They will probably say that porn is necessary because nobody has taught them about sex and it’s important for them to know. But porn is not sex education. They could say that porn does not affect everyone alike and so long as you’re in control… But that’s what drug addicts also say in the beginning. And that’s also what Ted Bundy said. The truth, however, is very different from the arguments you hear. If only we can see it. But of course we won’t. The internet service providers will make sure of it. If they don’t, netas will.
If netas don’t, the media will – I mean, of what good is freedom of expression if we can’t read/watch what we want and do what we want. In short, powerful forces multiplied by three. But remember, we collectively adopted Nirbhaya in 2012. Do you want more of our daughters to go through such horrors again?
(The writer is Head of the Department of Journalism, Mount Carmel College, Bengaluru)
Ah! Calcutta, city of my birth and half my lifetime
A drop of nostalgia tinges remembrance in this rhyme
The Sir Stuart Hogg market (known as such to but a few)
A century old yet referred to by one and all as “New”
On Saturday evenings we thronged at the movies
Memsahibs flashed arms gleaming with gold “choories”
Later we could take an easy stroll
To Nizam’s for a tr aditional karti roll.
Your frenetic transport hub that is the Esplanade
Was once a spacious gracious promenade
Where colonial gents and ladies strolled nice and easy
Perhaps imagining they were on the Strand, or Champs Elysee
From there stretched and stretched the green of the Burra Maidan
Venue for sports like soccer, netball and the annual kit battles called “Badam”
At its end the Vic Memorial white symbol of the Raj
Were they really trying to imitate the Taj ?
I well remember your annual menace
When the rains made your streets resemble the canals of Venice
In the rain the rickshaw’s tattered tarpaulin
Almost shielded its shrinking passengers within
Yet cover for an opportunistic lad to steal a kiss
From his shy but not unwilling miss
Heedless of potential damage to their teeth
Should rickshaw wheel encounter a pot hole in the street
The fleshpots clustered in Park Street
Where those with cash so loved to meet
And comely A.I. girls with matching vocal chords to use
Became each establishment’s resident chanteuse
A.I. clubs regularly “brought up” dances
Where one could pursue old or new romances
And those joints really came alive
When they played the most popular beat – the jive
To be in some unwritten macho groove
A.I. lads would neither get on or off a tram that wasn’t on the move
We hung around the entrance for breeze in the sultry air
And hoped, with luck, to avoid the fare
So often incongruously magnificent buildings soared
Above garbage strewn streets and roads
An aging, fading, yet still alluring old gal
Is how I remember good old Cal!
By: George Hart
It was on its way to being a ghost town, another relic of the Raj. But one school – an Anglo-Indian school, turned the fortunes of McCluskiegunj round. The road meanders up a hill like a thread. From a distance it seems almost surreal – thin slash of grey breaching the layers of green. Its eight in the morning and one will notice the beginning of hectic activity – students making their way steadily to the only Secondary English Medium Co-Educational School at McCluskiegunj – Don Bosco Academy. This school is affiliated to the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, New Delhi to conduct the ICSE (Year-10) examinations.
The Academy is the focal point of this sylvan semi-hill station in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district and probably one of the few, if not only public school in the country in a tribal hamlet. McCluskiegunj prior to 1997 seemed like a deserted village. Militancy scarred McCluskiegunj had been experiencing an acceleration in the exodus since the eighties. Of over 150 Anglo-Indian families barely 30 have managed to cling on despite the ravages of time, politics and economy. The younger generation had flown the nest for greener pastures abroad a long time ago. Those who remained at McCluskiegunj had an average age between 55-80 years. Many also shifted to Calcutta and other metros, taking with them the flavours and nuances of an eclectic past. The town looked decrepit, pot-holed pathways and prolonged power cuts made it a tourist nightmare. Coupled with these the naxalite menace was just overbearing.
Mr. Alfred deRozario set up the Don Bosco Academy at McCluskiegunj and turned this hill station into a ‘HOSTEL TOWNSHIP’. Initially at least 15 Anglo – Indian households were converted into hostels – to lodge students studying at Don Bosco Academy. There are over 40 such home-hostels in existence today catering to the boarding and lodging of at least 700 students who are studying at Don Bosco Academy. The school caters to the children of those working in the Central Coal fields Limited mines in the area, and today also to children from other districts of Jharkhand, Bihar, Orissa and West Bengal. The decision to set up this school was also fueled by a desire to bind together the dissipating Anglo-Indian community in undivided Bihar’s last colonial OUTPOST.
The Don Bosco Academy at McCluskiegunj, Ranchi has single handedly given this village a new lease of life. The school has provided the foundation for all round economic and social development for this village and area. Besides providing education, this school has directly and indirectly provided employment opportunities, livelihoods for so many, local business/ enterprise has been revived and has begun to flourish and most of all the number of tourists and visitors to McCluskiegunj has shown a noticeable upward trend. McCluskiegunj now has its own Police Station. The Jharkhand Government has declared McCluskiegunj a Tourist Centre. McCluskiegunj also figures in the list of 550 towns short-listed by the Indian Tourism Ministry as “a Model Heritage Village’. This school has forged a semblance of unity among the old and the new as a number of youngsters are back for good. Some are teaching, others to help their parents to run and manage the home-hostels. There are at least 3-4 feeder schools also come up in and around McCluskiegunj, managed and run by Anglo-Indians. They groom toddlers and prepare them for admission to Don Bosco Academy. Today the very existence of business and services is directly linked to the continuity and success of the school. Over 900 children are today studying at Don Bosco Academy, McCluskiegunj from all over Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and also West Bengal.