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The lost art of Indian sexuality

by caribdirect
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Archiman Bhaduri for CaribDirect

Staff Writer – Archi

There has been a sea change in India’s approach to sexuality in life and society over the years. The country has played a prominent role in the history of sex, from the first literature to treat sexual intercourse as a science to building arousing art forms.

Ancient India pioneered the use of sex education through art and literature. Sex was considered as a natural and important aspect of life in ancient India. The ancient Indian caves which depict graphic sex or the all-time classic on ways to enjoy sex were meant to excite as well as educate people.

Indian mythology bears great stories or hints of sexuality in various forms. And the country has always taken pride from what it inherited from Kamasutra, the great and perhaps the only text on sexuality at the heart of religious-cultural heritage in the world, let alone in India.

It was also a time when sculptors decorated the walls of temples in Khajuraho and Konark in central India, depicting lusty men and beautifully rounded young women copulating with gay abandon. Censorship by the state or society did not exist.

But a change first came with the invasion of Muslims in northern India who brought with them Islamic puritanism.  Though Muslims gave India many of its beautiful buildings depictions of sex in writing, painting or sculpture became a taboo.

And then came the British rule that introduced to India its Victorian morality.

Ironically, after Independence, especially during the 1960s and 1970s, when

Photo courtesy coolbuzz.org

many Westerners were discovering the ancient culture of sexual liberalism in India as a source for western free love movements and neo-Tantric philosophy, India was turning into a conservative and prudish culture embodying the Victorian sensibilities that were being abandoned in their country of origin.

Today, with growing exposure to global culture, India is in the midst of its own sexual revolution.

Voluptuousness in India has been replaced with tall, skinny, anorexic models who have become role models for most Indian women.

Cultural critics lament that erotica today is losing out to vulgarity and pornography that bares it all, leaving nothing to one’s imagination. Erotica has given way to voyeurism and vulgarity.

Indians are very conservative when it comes to the practice of sexuality in public life. Kissing is still a prize accomplishment on the silver screen and sexuality is still constructed figuratively, only to hint at what is happening. As the new Indian woman strives to zero-size figures and turns to botox, the glorious legacy of Khajuraho, Konark, Ajanta-Ellora, Kamasutra, and Tantric sex is fast getting dumped on the trash heap.



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