Wednesday, 31 October 2007

It also Happens in India

A lot of elderly people used to sit around and tut-tut over the accounts of teenagers' sexual shenanigans reported in the Western press and say, "It can't happen in India". Why? Because of our so-called strong moral values? Well, evidently they're wrong--government studies indicate that one out of ten teens living in affluent urban areas lose their virginity and one in four boys have sex before the age of 13. If these figures are correct, state governments had better include sex education classes in schools, and forget about the objections raised by Sushma Aunty and Lallu Uncle. Aunty, in any case, believes in abstinence, but Uncle doesn't think abstinence is good for him or his wife, at any rate. Moreover, Uncle and members of his rural ilk seem to think that information on matters sexual leads to immorality. I wonder how he and Rabri went about telling their kids, especially daughter Misa who married several years ago, about the birds and the bees? In any case, do these boys who lose their virginity at age 13 realise that they are committing an illegal act--they're a year or two short of the age of consent! Or do they hope to write an Indian version of Summer of '42?

Don't these elderly folk realise that the world is changing rapidly? It's not just urban teens who experiment with sex and have multiple partners--what about people in the villages? Maybe they don't talk about it but have sex anyway. Lack of information about sex could lead to a massive rise in HIV cases, and, keeping in mind our lack of a national health care system, an equally large rise in AIDS cases, the deaths of large numbers of people in their most productive years and the orphanining of future generations. We all know how kind and wonderful the joint family system is--there are many cases of women, whose husbands have died of AIDS and who themselves are infected with the disease, who have been shunned by their in-laws because "they failed to satisfy their husbands, who then went to prostitutes, and thus caused their deaths". That's how the Indian mind works--blame the innocent and let them suffer!

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