The question that led to the writing of my book Sex and Power was, why is India with its erotic history, so neurotic about sex today? See “India Uptight over Erotica in Hinduism?”
Yet, there are two other factors I observed over the course of my research. Firstly, there continues to be an underlying sexuality to the practice of Hinduism, which Indians seems bizarrely blind to, and in denial of even as they practice it!
Secondly, modern India has the most extreme form of cultural tolerance for various types of sexually deviant social behavior – like sex-trafficking in the form of marriage! As I tried to understand why this was so, a theory from Freud explained it quite clearly, and also made a projection. As I searched further, I realized that Freud was right! The biggest shocker for me was making the connection that the female genocide in India today is a direct result of India’s confounded, perverted social attitude to sex and sexuality!
Below is an excerpt from the last section of my book.
The lingam-yoni which continues to be worshipped by millions in India is perhaps one of the most blatant sexual allusions in Hinduism. It is not just the terminology, the actual use of the words ‘penis’ (lingam) and ‘vagina’(yoni), but it is the representation as well, the idol (bearing) a likeness (to) the respective anatomies…an unambiguous portrayal of sexual intercourse. Yet, surprisingly, most Indians will vehemently deny (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on February 6, 2013
Buddhism is the main focus of the Jaipur Literary Festival in 2013 and the Dalai Lama is one of the chief attractions this year. So in keeping with that, I am sharing here some excerpts from the Buddhist period in my book Sex and Power (Sect II, pp.67-110). I know that the literary festival as indeed a lot of the global discussions on Buddhism focus on ahimsa (non-violence), with this idealistic vision of a harmonious society. [Read the 2nd excerpt from my book on how Buddhism impacted on social perceptions of women and sex here].
But in my book I look at how Buddhism actually was a powerful social revolution in India that became popular among the masses because Buddha openly and strongly challenged the caste based hierarchy and the superiority of the Brahmin and upper castes, as well as their social and economic exploitation of the lower castes and poorer people.
Buddhism changed the whole power structure of Indian society in the period from about 500 B.C. to 100 A.D. in a manner that was hugely radical. And even though most modern Buddhist practitioners talk about non-violence (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on January 25, 2013
Who looks like the boss here: the blue turbaned man or the woman?
Let me state clearly what this article is about. It is my protest as a citizen of India, against a certain person – Sonia Gandhi, who in my opinion, has completely destroyed the democratic process of what otherwise was a crude and unruly democracy.
Don’t get me wrong on this. I voted for Sonia Gandhi in that election which brought the Congress back into power. In fact it didn’t matter to me that she was born and raised in Italy. It didn’t matter to me that Sonia Gandhi who has been married to the son of India’s Prime Minister since 1967, lived in the country for 15 years, had two children, but never wanted to even take Indian citizenship. And that she got (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on September 11, 2012
Kal Penn, Indian American actor on Obama’s team
I am not surprised that the anti-Obama documentary film that’s gone viral in the U.S. (No.7 at the box office), is made by an Indian – Dinesh D’Souza?
D’Souza is a Republican, which is why he made this film with an obvious political agenda in time for the next U.S. elections. Why am I not surprised? Because among the Indian communities in the U.S., it always appeared to me that a majority of immigrants from India, supported the Republican party.
This was true even for the my parents’ friends who lived there. They’d anxiously explain to me how the Democrats were trying to turn the U.S. into a depraved country, by apparently promoting gayness (like it’s a new religion?); by destroying culture and traditions (i.e. being open to inter-faith and inter-race unions); and the worst, the democrats take the money of the rich and use it to create welfare programs for the “lazy” poor!
The conservative approach of the Republicans appealed greatly to the older generation of Indian immigrants, most of who stuck to their cloistered communities and traditions, even as they focused on the one thing they were there in the U.S. to do (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on September 8, 2012
Recently India has been seriously pondering over the most ridiculous question. Is Pinki Pramanik a rapist? Well, that’s not the stupid question. The stupid question is:
Is Pinki Pramanik male or female, because she apparently can be charged with the rape she’s accused of, by her female partner, only if it’s proved she is male!!
Pinki Pramanik is an Indian track athlete who has won numerous medals for India for the women’s track races at various international events. Earlier this year, her live-in partner, another woman, brought charges of rape against her. Apparently this partner shared pictures (more…)
Posted by Rita Banerji on July 13, 2012