Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is Sex Education a Necessary Evil of India?

…..Savita bhabhi represents blasphemy against our culture, Flying Machine’s ad is vulgar and Valentine’s Day corrupts our youth!

Such rhetoric has been mouthed time and again by those who have been voted in power by our junta to create a better future of us. The reality however is quite sad.

In India sex is prerogative of only married people and that too in the privacy of their homes. No I am not talking about the act per se, but about discussions, education and learning about it, which is so vital for every individual’s healthy existence.

Those who whine saying that Indian youth is getting corrupted with overdose of vulgarity and obscenity through movies and advertisements forget that such a phenomenon is the culmination of age old taboo associated with sex in our country. Right from the childhood our kids are tutored to turn blind and deaf to anything which is even remotely linked to this topic. We are brought up in an environment where we are expected to fathom this art automatically when we get married. Ask how and pat comes the reply “It’s natural”. They forget that we no longer live in the age of Ramayan and Mahabharat where magical touch and some blessings could impregnate a woman. Parents think it is not their responsibility and schools think it is not theirs. In such a situation it is but natural for a child to get titillated by the slightest exposure which he/she gets through the entertainment channels.

Even though we have moved into the 21st century we are still stuck with the rules, rituals and mentalities of the dinosaur’s era. A certain level of progression in the expression of love and acceptance of sex has to happen in a mature society. We cannot expect our nation to be free from clutches of prostitution, teenage pregnancies, child trafficking and sexually transmitted diseases when we refrain our youth from knowing anything about it. A land where even hand holding (yes! even by husband and wife) is frowned upon and looked down with suspicion needs to learn to be more tolerant and more receptive. Many argue that imparting sex education at the school level would make our kids promiscuous and encourage them to explore the unknown and in doing so the same people overlook the bigger picture of the entire scenario. Then there are also those who feel sex education is another aspect where we are trying to emulate the west.

In this age TVs and internet have mega influence on the way we think and behave and hence the need to channelize our learning is even more important. These mediums of entertainment provide lot of resources on such topics but most often these are half baked information as teenagers and kids choose to read what they like. If only they could be taught about the why, how and when about their bodies at the right age that they would transform into responsible people with sexual awareness.

If cultural pandits and political leaders shy away from understanding the role of sex education in trouncing sex related woes then our country would continue to be plagued by disasters. The idea is not to follow the western countries in how they are imparting the sex education but to take a leaf out of their book and understand their paradigm and develop a prototype suiting our ethos. Leaving our kids at the crossroads of adolescence, with no idea about sex, is quite dangerous as it can lead them towards the path of misadventures. This is where schools can play a pivotal role and provide a platform for sex education minus the hype surrounding it. Decisions taken by an informed mind are often more logical and sound than the ignorant and confused mind.

Just like Physics, Chemistry and History, sex education can also be tailored into a subject and introduced from certain grades into the schools. Of course being a new domain a lot of sensitivity and cooperation would be required from teachers and parents which would help in making this endeavor successful. However before we preach our kids we need to walk the talk ourselves and stop considering sex as the subject of condemnation and approach it more pragmatically. Let us empower our youth with education today for a salubrious tomorrow, after all “child is the father of the man”.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Manmohan Singh - Then and Now

He is a man who became the modern day synonym for integrity in the political circuit of India. Credited with making the crawling economy of our country move at a faster pace and making it come out of its self created cocoon of license raj, he made the world take notice of us. But all this was yesterday. Today he is mocked for his lack of initiative for resolving moments of crisis and inability to exhibit world class leadership when the whole nation stands in doubt.

Manmohan Singh would certainly be remembered as the only Prime Minister (of course apart from Mr. Nehru) of India who has democratically held the office for 2 consecutive terms by the people of my generation. The grey beard, black frame spectacles and light blue turban are not only the signature look of this economist but over the time have also symbolized his calm demeanor and level headed approach towards otherwise mudslinging politics of India. The recent pandemonium created over anti-corruption campaign spear headed by Anna Hazare threw very many questions at Manmohan Singh and his government. He was constantly tongue lashed by the opposition parties for inaction and instigated by the media to speak his mind on these issues.

While the aam junta understands and appreciates the fact that running a country of mammoth size is no child’s play, it also expects the government to listen to its woes and acknowledge them. Suresh Kalmadi and A. Raja led scandals are two most prominent cases of embezzlement which have tainted the clean slate of the ruling government. You may argue that a single person, no matter what power he has, cannot prevent the corrupt minds from carrying out the wrong deeds. But then the onus surely lies on him to free the tax payers’ money from the clutches of mercenary bureaucrats. Constant media write-ups about Manmohan Singh’s meek persona and questions about his freedom to call shots have dismayed the Indian citizens. The country no longer feels the same confidence and optimism which the results of 2004 general elections had accorded. Call it a sad state of affairs or power driven propaganda by the media and oppositions – things are just not the same.

His spotless career records and financial acumen are undeniably his most laudable forte but currently the question confronting the future of India is whether he is the leader our nation has been longing for? The nation will rejoice when we get to see the yester years’ Manmohan Singh whose grit and unflinching stand made India become a nuclear power even after the US bans. The man who introduced economic reforms and infused a sense of power in our nation. The man who made honesty a style statement amongst his political coterie. Till then this question would continue to daunt our nation.