Dear Dr Harsh Vardhan,

This is to say I feel for your cause, and how difficult it must be to tackle such a grave problem in a difficult country such as ours. After all, which country wants an AIDS epidemic? And look at how everyone, including the WHO, is struggling worldwide. And after all, what have they managed thus far save feebly suggest that safe sex, or condom use, may be one way out of this global crisis. You on the other hand have made a grand, and bold, move in suggesting that the solution lies in a return to “Indian culture”, and in discontinuing sex education in schools (not that too many probably have it). Excellent! I have been wondering how you would go about it, and how this unique initiative would be actualised. And I realised, to my great horror, that you may run into some severe difficulties here. So in order to be of some help, I began to do a spot of research that could be of use, and what I’ve been coming up with, well, is very worrisome….

Now at the outset, I presume, by “Indian culture” you mean all things Hindu. Naturally. But where does one turn? I mean, look at that most favourite of Indian gods, Krishna! Fun loving chap, but not exactly the one we can turn to, can we, in this dark hour of need? Cavorting with all the village belles, running off with their clothes, for god’s sakes, and what is worse, seems to have cultivated quite a jolly little harem. Eight official wives, and many unnamed junior queens it seems…Don’t get me wrong, I too think that must have been fun (for him, and hopefully them) but not quite what we are looking for here, is it? I began flipping through other useful sources, and all I keep coming encountering are our cultural stumbling blocks. Look at our texts, or temples – all of them seem to be worshipping not merely the body beautiful, but revelling quite openly in its erotic possibilities. Tauba, tauba….But then kama, desire, is meant to lead us to moksha, right? Born out of the interaction with atman, buddhi, and manaskama they say is the fourth principle of the human constitution. These Ancients, I tell you! And that redoubtable sex manual, Kamasutra; well that was written by none other than that venerable sage, Vatsyayana. In sheer despair, I thought I should turn from texts to places of worship. Now one would imagine that at least the temples would be free of such defiling thoughts – but no! You wander down, from north to south, and do I dare tell you this – these places are replete with erotic sculptures – from just ordinary, rather boring, coupling to contortionists, multiplicists, and dear dear, the cult of bestiality. And what does one do with those temples devoted to genitalia – lingams and yonis  – and crowds thronging to not just worship, but actually look at all this!  I can tell you this honestly; by this stage of my research my head had begun to spin. What was “Indian culture” I asked? What were our values? Didn’t Indians think of anything but sex? I mean, look at those more austere Christians with their well grounded beliefs in monogamy, reproduction oriented sexuality, and a life focused on service of God, and the poor. Hey, not saying we should emulate them; not quite “Indian” are they? Or indeed, the polygynous Muslims. But you know what, Dr Harsh Vardhan? The supposed four wife formula for Muslim men is actually four less than the prescribed numbers of lovers for those dreadfully oversexed Nayar women! Eight men, at any given time, for those polyandroussavarna nymphomaniacs……terrible!

I was distressed, discovering all this, and wondered what you must be going through. Such a difficult time, this! At least we have that wonderful custodian of Truth, Mr D Batra, coming to our aid now. But what do we do with all these grievous things of the past? How do we ban, erase, suppress, repress, this history of Indian “cultural values”, this profusion of kama? What’s worse, it seems to be going strong even today – look at our ever-growing numbers! True, publically we could blame Muslims, homosexuals, transgenders and any other “deviant” group for the ills of the nation, but privately? We know that its our own Hindu majority, with its long historic tradition in sexual celebration that is breeding like rabbits. Inside their happy marital homes, on those ever so active marital beds, Indians are going at it, relentlessly. Those bonny Indian babies aren’t being made by the deviants, though some, poor things, may contribute a few to our numbers! It’s the straight and narrow that has kept this hallowed Indian tradition – from Kamasutra to continuous copulation – alive. And sex, as we know Dr Harsh Vardhan, is the dreaded root of sex based diseases…..

What an awful predicament; I do feel for you! Personally, I’d suggest a small compromise for the moment; until the tide turns, why don’t we just stick to those boring old condoms, and the odd sex-ed class or two? May just help us get past the initial stages. We can then devise some other clever stratagem, rooted naturally in “Indian values”, to take us further in this battle against immorality, corruption, and all similar evils that dog Indian society today.

Yours respectfully,

I remain,

Your Concerned Well Wisher

| G Arunima

http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m41ihfmtSx1ruq5t7o1_1280.jpg (yoni temple; kamakhya)

http://www.kamat.com/kalranga/tantra/lingam/3535.htm (lingam worship)

http://indian.culturextourism.com/sculptured-erotic-art-of-khajuraho-temples/ (khajuraho)