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Mr Minister, porn is NSFW

Earlier this week, three ministers in Karnataka were caught watching pornography on a cellphone in the Karnataka Assembly. The resultant scandal has been dubbed porngate (on a side-note, great name for a website), and has got me thinking; we need a new way of naming scams and scandals. We've used 'gate' for over 30 years now, and it's getting a bit stale. Also, what will we do when a water scam breaks? That one's already taken, and even though we live in an era of reboots, I reckon it'll all get a bit awkward. 

While it is embarrassing, porngate is also slightly impressive because it proves that unlike Kapil Sibal, these men know how to use technology. It takes some navigating to be able to download and sync videos onto your phone, and I didn't think politicians knew that the 21st century had been invented yet. Then again, I can't think of a better way to get men to learn technology than telling them that if they do, there's hardcore X-rated action to be found on the other side. It's how the entire 20th century was won, and why should things be any different now?


Poor defence: The ministers claimed that they were watching the
video for research on violence against women, and were highlighting
the point by watching footage from a 'rave party'


Some reports pause to point out the irony that one of the men caught watching the video is CC Patil, who was (until porngate) the Women and Child Development Minister. The media seems surprised and outraged because just a month ago, he'd said women should dress conservatively to avoid sexual assault. I'd like to step in here and say that his statements (and position) are irrelevant to what happened. He could advocate that we ban women altogether, and it still wouldn't matter, because he is a man. And men watch porn. It's like peeing standing up. It's what we do. Also, his statement only proves that he's a hypocrite, and if a hypocritical politician surprises you, you should probably get back in your ship and go back to whatever nebula it is that you came from.

Three ministers were caught watching pornography in the Assembly. What I love about this country is that we're outraged at the first half of that sentence, not the second half. A lot of the outrage seems to stem from the fact that they watched porn at all, and not at the larger issue, which is that they watched it in the Assembly, i.e. at work. I'm going to stick my neck out here and say grow up, pornography isn't the problem.
 
It is not an inherently bad thing. This is a country where everyone likes to pretend sex doesn't even exist. Even though, with a population of 1.2 billion people, we are the world's second-largest evidence of the fact that it does. Pornography is, for many, their first introduction to the very concept of sex. Pornography powers the digital economy. Pornography practically keeps all of Eastern Europe employed.

What is outrageous is that they watched it in the Assembly. Not because it is one of the highest institutions in the land, or because we should hold it sacred (look at who we elect, it's practically the opposite), but because, very simply, they weren't focusing on work. If I watched pornography at work, and didn't alt-Tab the browser window fast enough, I'd get fired just because I was wasting work-hours. And hadn't been nice enough to tell my colleagues how to bypass the office-firewall.

Their defense has also been lamentable. Manohar Parrikar, of the Goa BJP, leapt to their rescue with "They were only watching it. Not doing it." I will leave that sentence there for you to understand the full horror of its implications. I've seen photographs of all three men Mr Parrikar, and I'm pretty certain having to watch them "do it" would qualify as a human rights violation of some sort.

The ministers themselves have said that they were watching the video for 'research' on violence against women, and they were highlighting the point by watching footage from a 'rave party' off the coast of Karnataka. This is the political equivalent of "those magazines are not mine, I'm just keeping them for a friend."

The ministers also said that rave parties are bad, and responsible for a host of problems. If by 'rave parties' they mean the BJP and the Congress, I have to say, I agree.

Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo

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