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Ministers watch porn in Assembly

 | February 10, 2012

Nobody bought their explanation that they were actually watching a news clip about a woman being gang raped.

COMMENT

India’s moral brigade has meandered into an amoral alleyway.

Last Tuesday, three ministers of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka were caught watching a blue clip on a mobile telephone in the assembly.

The Minister for Cooperation and Agriculture Marketing Laxman Savadi, the Minister for Woman and Child Development CC Patil, and the Minister for Ecology, Environment and Ports, Krishna Palemar, have since resigned.

They did try explaining why they were watching pornography in the House: that it was a news clip about a woman being gang raped. But nobody bought this.

During an arid discussion on the Karnataka drought situation, the ministers probably wanted to get over the sheer boredom of it all by titillating themselves with sexciting porn.

What they did not realise – and how stupid they could have been – was that television cameras were right behind them, recording their little pastime.

It puzzles me to think why these men could not have waited to watch the film in the privacy of their homes, choosing instead to do so in the hallowed premises of the State Assembly. Were they simply dumb or were they so brazen to think that ministers could do what they pleased?

Porn watching in the assembly is certainly the first of its kind in India, where physical fights, throwing shoes and microphones at one another, shouting and abusing, if not snoring through sessions, have all been very common.

But the Karnataka ministers cannot claim to be pioneers in watching blue movies in the House.

Last April, an Indonesian member of parliament from an Islamic party, which has been campaigning for anti-pornographic legislation, was caught watching sleaze in the House. He had to quit after trying in vain to explain that he was getting acquainted with pornography in order to do a better job at opposing it.

Preserving Indian values

The Karnataka porngate comes just as Valentine’s Day approaches on Feb 14, a season that has seen in the past suppression of popular and fun rituals – like buying cards and sending roses.

One clearly remembers how Hindu fundamentalists – some of them closely aligned with the BJP – had ransacked shops selling Valentine fare, bullying and threatening young men and women to stay away from the so-called “alien culture”.

What is more, it is in Karnataka that Hindu extremists – the BJP was reportedly involved here – had beaten up women and girls outside pubs, stopped couples from holding hands in public places and forbidden college girls from wearing tight fitting clothes (jeans included), all in the name of preserving “Indian values”.

The Karnataka Assembly scandal is clearly a case of moral-keepers themselves needing lessons in morals, and it exposes the sheer hypocrisy of the BJP, which has never lost a chance to shout from the rooftop that it is the custodian of the nation’s culture.

The party and/or its sympathisers and associates have in the past attacked filmmakers (Deepa Mehta) and artists (M F Husain), because their creations went against the soul and spirit of the India.

With several State Assembly elections going on now, the Karnataka porngate is but a terrible embarrassment for the BJP. And, a shame.

Gautaman Bhaskaran is a Chennai-India based author, columnist and film critic, and can be contacted at [email protected]. He is an FMT columnist.


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