Mine is an interesting nation. We have everything, and we have nothing.
We are the world’s largest democracy, but I don’t always feel like I am free.
We have beautiful mountains that house some of the nicest people you will ever meet. We have cultures so diverse that inter-state travel often feels like inter-country travel.
We have big cities, we have towns, we have villages but we also have slums and squalour.
We have advanced greatly as far as our treatment of women is concerned, we now allow them to think, sometimes live, have a career and even vote.
We have exotic cuisines available at all hours, and we have appalling rates of undernourishment.
We have schemes to alleviate poverty and we have a meaningless system to deduce poverty.
We have too many beautiful cars and we have bullock carts that people still travel in.
There are people in our country, who are and will continue to be ensconced in the warm, protective bubble of BDSM. Unfortunately, our lives are not always so easy.
Firstly, the legal position on BDSM is extremely unclear.
As Indians, we cannot indulge in “Unnatural Sexual Offences”. These vary from fellatio to anal sex. I would have to assume that BDSM practises would seem a tad unnatural to the law.
Domestic abuse is still rampant within India, not just in rural environments, but in cities where “modern and progressive” women who have great careers knuckle under the wrath of an egoistic man.
So it would seem that while you cannot outwardly call a woman your slave and do to her what (she and) you wish but you can abuse her silly behind closed doors to assert your manhood.
To the internet-accessing, elite group of youngsters BDSM is a known terminology, mostly perceived as a form of pornography as opposed to a sub-culture in its own right.
But many of the practitioners do not know the term BDSM, they do not know that it is natural and globally existential. What they do know, sometimes, is that they are strange, weird, abnormal and should probably not discuss their inclinations with anyone lest they be recognized as a freak.
BDSM is not something that registers beyond a sexually perverted act to anyone if introduced into social discourse.
While some serious practitioners who I have had the virtue to meet and be with, do push the boundaries of “propriety” to sometimes see if they can garner some positive support most of their efforts just leave people feeling uncomfortable.
What is strange to me, mostly, are the double standards that we seem to uphold.
We adhere to ludicrous superstitions that have no logical explanation. We visit pandits, tantriks, priests, saints, sadhus and many other godmen and often unquestioningly participate in their sexually “perverted” rituals in the name of all that is holy.
I know a woman who agreed to have sex with a tantrik, 26 times on the roof of a house facing north, face-down and without protection, all because he promised that it would save her marriage. Kenneth Burke should have studied rhetoric under our godmen.
The same woman could not for the life of her understand why any woman would want to submit to her man and let him hurt her as much as he pleases.
All this silence and disgust at the concept of BDSM has created a stigma, a stigma that oddly is not attributed if you sexually practise light bondage but comes into play as soon as you concede to being a “hardcore” practitioner. This stigma has mad it hard, if not impossible for many people to find partners. I know men who have been in the search of a partner since the time I was a minor (I’m 22 now). These men go on to settle for ‘vanilla’ relationships in the hope that they will someday be able to introduce a little bondage into them. How that usually works out is- you meet a girl, you date a girl, you marry her, one fine day you bring ropes to the bedroom, she’s either into it at least sexually or you freak her out and create a wedge.
Another thing that does happen, is that once a man marries a woman, he is free to impose his inclinations onto her (Indian men have some serious ego as far as controlling their women is concerned), once he imposes his fetishes especially if she is afraid, their relationship is reduced to abuse.
She will never be happy, he will never have her willful submission and it’s all downhill from there.
Down to suicide and affairs I mean, divorce is still a scary word out here.