Secularism in India is degenerating to be the equivalent of pornography. Consumers of pornography and secularism are unable to resist pursuing them to the detriment of other activities.
In India, the best examples of this are two apostles of secularism–Khuswant Singh and Vinod Mehta. Both edited Debonair, the porn magazine to make their mark. After that their journey on the path of secularism was a cakewalk. The addiction to pornography and secularism becomes “compulsive,” meaning they continue despite negative consequences on a person’s life and functioning.
Pornography is more exciting than satisfying because we have two separate pleasure systems in our brains, one that has to do with exciting pleasure and other with satisfying pleasure. The exciting system relates to the ‘appetitive’ pleasure that we imagine when we desire sex or a good meal. Its neurochemistry is largely dopamine-related, and it raises our tension level. The second pleasure system has to do with satisfaction, or consummatory pleasure, that attends actually to having sex or meal, a calming, fulfilling pleasure. Its neurochemistry is based on the release of endorphins, which are related to opiates and give a peaceful, euphoric bliss. This bliss will be (my guess) similar to the one which Girish Karnad experienced after abusing Vidya S Naipaul.
Pornography, by offering an endless harem of sexual objects, hyper-activates the appetitive system. Secularists, like porn viewers develop new maps in their brains, based on the photos and videos they see. Because it is a use-it-or-lose-it brain, when we develop a map area, we long to keep it activated. Just as our muscles become impatient for exercise if we’ve been sitting all day, so too our senses’ hunger to be stimulated. The men at their computers addicted to porn don’t know that they are seduced to pornographic training session meeting all the conditions required for plastic change of brain maps. (N. Doidge, The Brain that Changes Itself: Stories of Personal Triumph from the Frontiers of Brain Science, New York: Viking, 2007, p. 108.)
The Cyber Pornography Use Inventory: Comparing a Religious and Secular Sample, by John Sessoms had some relevant findings. In 1982, Zillman and Bryant assessed the impact of pornography on dispositions towards women. Over the course of six weeks, participants were exposed to no pornography, an intermediate amount, or a heavy amount. They were then given a rape case and asked to give a sentence for the convicted rapist. Those in the massive exposure group recommended much shorter sentences for the rapist than did the other two groups. The researchers also noted that as pornography exposure increased, the perception of abnormal sexual practices (e.g., sex with animals) as normal increased. Furthermore, those who were exposed to massive amount of pornography demonstrated significantly greater sexual callousness and lower compassion towards women than those in the other two groups.
Jug Suraiya expressed the same about secular addiction in Times of India in the following words: “Are many, if not most, Indian liberals and self-styled secularists ‘softer’ on displays of Muslim bigotry than they are on similar outbursts of Hindu chauvinism… This is the paradox: the liberal’s intolerance regarding majority illiberalism, and his relative tolerance regarding minority illiberalism.”
Barkha Dutt and NDTV, when they were down and out because of Radia tapes, took the route of porn to get back their secular credentials. Barkha Dutt hosted a programme on porn discussing pubic hair and penis with Pakistani author Hanif Mohammed. NDTV ran a billboard at 8 PM show reading “Parental guidance advised, some language in the show is sexually explicit.” For secularists, porn is the solution to every problem.
It is substantiated by the works of Baltazar and colleagues (2010). They assessed the perceived benefits and consequences of viewing Internet pornography and the motivation for viewing such materials. They found that the two most commonly reported problems resulting from pornography were a worsened relationship with God (males: 43%; females: 20%). No wonder secularists are at the forefront of destroying everything which is Hindu, be it Ram Setu or Ram Mandir.
The formation of secular India is also defined in terms of porn by secularists. Sagarika Ghose as senior special correspondent of Outlook wrote in her article for Jaal, a desi satire eZine: “Do Indian men owe their women an Orgasm?” It all began, of course, with the Mahatma and those wacky nocturnal “experiments”. I mean, lying nude with two naked nieces on either side and calling it “nation-building”!
The secularists’ argument is strengthened by the words of Lady Pamela Hicks, the daughter of the late Viceroy’s revelation in her book “India Remembered: A Personal Account of the Mountbattens during the transfer of power” and later corroborated in an interview to Karan Thapar that it could have been possible that Jawaharlal Nehru took the decision to refer Kashmir to the United Nations under the advice of Mountbatten and that later used Edwina Mountbatten’s emotional influence on Panditji for getting it through.
The idea of this article/comparison is not to make fun of anyone but to help the addicted recover, and to warn those who are about to be sucked into the addiction of secularism. I can see Chetan Bhagat (through his article on RSS in the Sunday Times of India) falling prey to the addiction of secularism. Recently, not only Anil Dharker but the whole world realised what addiction to secularism can do to one: when secularism got the better of learned man like Girish Karnad.
All is not lost. One can recover from the addiction to secularism; we have seen quite a few individuals who have recovered from it successfully. The latest to come out of it is Yoginder Sikand. It is unfortunate that his recovery was not celebrated as the recovery of Yuvraj Singh from cancer, but I can assure you that it is to be cherished as much if not more. In reality secularism is more dangerous than cancer. Cancer kills individuals while secularism as well as pornography kills society.
The treatment of addiction to pornography lies in the effective management of sexual desires and a change of the individual’s focus towards a more positive hobby. The initial introduction to images of this nature may start out innocently, but too easily become addictive and consume a person’s life.
Addiction to secularism is similar. Let’s take the case of Yoginder Sikand. In his milestone article “Why I Gave Up On ‘Social Activism’, he writes: “Ever since I left home, at the age of eighteen, I’ve been desperately trying to change the world, as a self-appointed missionary of the ‘Revolution’. I began identifying with communities in India that saw themselves as ‘oppressed’, and took it upon myself to champion their ‘cause’. How desperately I craved to be recognised as one among them! That is how I became what is called a ‘social activist’, and began writing mainly about Muslims…” Of course, we know that in India, “social activist” and “secularist” are synonymous.
Getting help to overcome porn or secular addiction can feel shameful, embarrassing, or humiliating, but those feelings have to be tolerated when the greater concern is that the pornography or secular addictions will significantly interfere in a person’s sex life or in case of a secular addict, in the lives of those they love. As it happened with Anil Dharker because of his friend Girish Karnad.
It is good to see that Anil Dharker didn’t ditch his secularism-addicted friend but is helping him recover. On November 9, 2012, he wrote, “Dear Girish Karnad, by now our little skirmish is not only over, it has a happy ending. A couple of days after your fiery speech at Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest, I rang to invite you to the next edition of the festival in 2013. To speak about theatre, I added. Yes, you said…”
When individuals have initially accepted the need to overcome pornography, secularism, one of the most important things, is for them to experience an increase in hope and a reduction in shame attributable to their problem. There are two crucial messages in this, that:
1. The problem should not be seen as evidence of their worthlessness.
2. Help is available, and that God and others are interested in helping them overcome this problem.