India Uptight over Erotica in Hinduism?

The Sex and Power Discussion Blog

This week in Delhi an exhibition on nudity in art was forcibly shut down by Hindu fundamentalist groups who took offense! Paintings in another gallery in Bangalore were also forcibly removed because the same groups found the nude portrayals of goddesses objectionable!

It is exactly this sort of public response to nudity, sex and sexuality in India today that I question in my book Sex and Power.

Below is an excerpt from the introduction of my book.

Languorously sensual and of exquisite form, men and women in stone on ancient khajuraho1Indian temple walls engage in explicit and imaginative love-making, in an array of intriguing poses…A man caresses his delighted lover’s naked breasts with a lotus bud…[Another] kneels before his lover and performs cunnilingus…One couple prefers intercourse in the standing position…[while] another couple in coitus understandably requires assistance…the man below…balanced on his head, the woman…on top held in position by…

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Why India’s View on Sex and Sexuality is Deadly!

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.

lingam yonijpgThe 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…)

Indo-Canadian Artist Soraya Nulliah Talks About Female Gendercide in Western Countries

As I run a campaign, The 50 Million Missing, to raise global awareness about India’s female gendercide, one of the things I find I need to do, is highlight that this gendercide is not limited to IndiaIt is happening in Indian communities in the West too.  In countries like the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Norway.  See this article I wrote on Pickled Politics.

Recently, I interviewed Indo-Canadian, feminist artist Soraya Nulliah, for The 50 Million Missing’s blog, Gender BytesSoraya has been using her art to raise awareness about the hidden gendercide in Indo-Canadian communities and the violence it entails.  In 2006 she held a solo exhibition titled ‘SHAKTI’ on this theme, at the  Nina Haggerty Centre in Edmonton, Canada.    As one review of her exhibition pointed out: “Under the rich textures and colour, there is a sad theme: the reality of violence against women…”

Below is my extremely inspiring interview with Soraya.  All the paintings in the post are by Soraya Nulliah.

Rita: Your family is of Indian origin, but you grew up in South Africa and Canada and now live in the United States.  So why did you choose the subject of violence against Indian women as the theme for your paintings and your exhibition?  (more…)

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