India is today a country of over 1.3 billion people. Since gaining independence, we have come a long way. Among our remarkable achievements are a better GDP, improved literacy rates, excellent population growth rates. This last ‘achievement’ of our nation is an exceptional one because India is going to move past China very soon in terms of population grab the number one spot.
But is this something to be proud of? In my opinion, this is not a good enough reason to see it as a ‘triumph’ over China. Also, we don’t have adequate resources to take care of a huge population and its needs. This is because the major share of India’s wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few and not all among the increasing populace are going to become heirs to these huge business empires.
So, the question arises – has the Indian government done anything to tackle this crisis?
In my opinion, not nearly enough. And the recent ban on condom advertisements on TV, from 6 am to 10 pm, will contribute more towards the government’s inefficiency in tackling this crisis, rather than making Indian adolescents more ‘sanskari’. Indian society as a whole has been shying away from holding such discussions with their children and the ruling elite has also decided to close their eyes on this issue.
The government argues that these advertisements are sensual and are thus not appropriate for our drawing rooms. Why? Simply because Indian parents are incapable of answering their children’s awkward questions. Family and moral values are so important to us that we forget how to build a healthy family. I agree that private companies make advertisements sensual but what about the advertisements that the government itself had made in past? Were they not made to promote protection against sexually transmitted diseases and family planning?
Back in 2008, data suggested that in India, 62 out of every 1000 pregnancies were teenage pregnancies. In rural India marriages are happening at a young age. Isn’t it the government’s responsibility to educate these young couples about family planning and safe sexual practices? Forget about rural India, even in urban India, sex education is sorely missing. The only ‘sex education’ that a person gets is during biology classes in school. About 0.26% of the Indian adult population, according to a 2015 report, are HIV-positive.
Parents feel awkward to talk to their children about sex and the government wants us to remain ignorant. Do we, as a society, only want to cultivate doctors, engineers, businessmen, bureaucrats and CEOs? Is it not our responsibility to talk to our children about safe sexual practices, consent, sharing responsibilities, parenting? Why do we not tell them that gender roles don’t exist and they should be their own person?
How ironic it is that when it comes to LGBT rights, we are happy to peep into other people’s bedrooms, but when it comes to promoting family planning, safe sex and marital rape, we don’t want to enter bedrooms at all. Instead, we wail about so-called family and moral values.