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Your job is to govern, not to become our parents

By Suparn Verma
Last updated on: August 05, 2015 15:05 IST
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'What adult citizens do in the privacy of their home, what they eat or drink or watch, is not the government's concern.'

'Instead of #SwacchBharat and #SwacchInternet, it is time to clean your own house with #SwacchSarkar,' says Suparn Verma.

A dancer being recorded on a mobile phone

On July 9, 2015 the Supreme Court ruled that pornographic Web sites could not be banned, as it was a violation of Article 21 (Right to Personal Liberty) of the Constitution.

On August 1, 2015 the Department of Electronics & Information Technology secretly passed a circular to ISPs to block 857 pornographic Web sites 'under the provision of section 79(3)(b) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 as the content hosted on these Web sites relate to morality, decency as given in Article 19(2) of the Constitution of India.'

Interestingly, some of the Web sites banned weren't even pornographic.

A couple of days later, after a massive uproar on social media and embarrassed silence by the government's extremely vociferous supporters, the government rescinded the order, leaving the liability on the ISP to ensure there is no 'child pornography' on these Web sites.

The minute the spin doctors came up with this new line, Shaina NC of the BJP tweeted 'The ban on #porn is aimed at child pornography. Why would anyone oppose such a ban? #swacchinternet'

The party line was to shame all those opposed to the ban and rightly so, pedophilia is the most heinous crime in nature.

In that very spin lies the entire problem of the government's understanding of the nature of the problem they are supposedly trying to stem.

Child pornography is illegal all over the world except for Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan, Zimbabwe and Belize. Child pornography is also banned all across the Internet with very strict protocols in place on all adult Web sites and the chances are the only thing you will find if you go looking for child porn is an FBI sting operation.

Having said that, child pornography is a 20 billion dollar business worldwide and it is conducted over the Internet, but not in the fashion the government seems to think it does.

The business of child pornography is conducted via encrypted e-mails and encrypted file sharing servers buried in the 'Deep Net' that even the most advanced users would not find their way to them.

Also, the idea of 'SwacchInternet' is most ridiculous because the Web is not a national phenomena, it is called the World Wide Web for a reason.

Firstly, the government has no right to infringe upon the privacy of Indian citizens and secondly do they even realise how foolhardy it is to try and ban anything on the Internet?

Tor, VPN or Web sites that help you access banned Web sites are available galore on the net. To top it all, there are over 40 million porn Web sites!

Before the world of the Internet there were video parlours showing soft porn films, Debonair magazine was passed on from generation to generation, Playboy and Hustler were like the Blue Label of porn those days. Magazines like Rasik, Rangeela and others hung at newspaper vendor shops outside railway stations and the local raddiwala.

There comes a time in every man and woman's life when they grow up and start exploring sex via literature, pictures, videos, starting with masturbation before actually enjoying the act of sex. It is the natural progression of nature, which has been so since time immemorial, it isn't going to change.

I find it extremely ironic that for all the crying about our culture and values and 'Indian-ness,' we seem hell bent on adopting the Victorian values ingrained in us during the British Raj.

Some apologists even say porn causes rape! These folks also claim jeans, skirts and girls being out at night cause rape.

Rape is caused by a misogynist upbringing where you as a father or mother didn't severely pull up your child the very first time he disrespected a woman.

It is caused by a system where you see a woman as a commodity, inferior to man. It is caused by a system where a senior leader like Mulayam Singh Yadav can casually say, 'Boys will be boys, they make mistakes, will you hang them for rape?' or the chief minister of a state like Mamata Banerjee while addressing a rally can say: 'It is in the nature of spirited boys (daamal chhele) to get naughty once in a while.'

These are just two instances of so many shameless statements that elected officials have made again and again.

Dear elected officials, please heed this warning or you will flop at the electoral turnstiles in 2019. Your job is not to become parents of the citizens of this country who are tax paying adults, your job is to administer and govern on our behalf and make our lives easier.

What adult citizens do in the privacy of their homes, what they eat or drink or watch, is not the government's concern.

Each month some new ban is attempted to be imposed on us, Indians, while the country's economy and infrastructure lie in tatters, as scams are being unearthed in the new government as in the old.

Instead of addressing these issues, all we hear is silence at the top and some fresh ban to distract the attention of the media and people.

The citizens voted for change and so far you are no different from the previous administration. Not everything you said was a chunnavi jumla, was it?

So instead of #SwacchBharat and #SwacchInternet, it is time to clean your own house with #SwacchSarkar.

Suparn Verma is a filmmaker.

Please note: The image published is only for representational purposes.

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