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Sunday Special » Kaleidoscope

Posted at: Feb 11, 2018, 1:43 AM; last updated: Feb 11, 2018, 1:43 AM (IST)AS I PLEASE

Art of love —and hate —the Hindu contradiction

K. Natwar Singh
Most Hindus are hypocritical about sex
The Rigveda is perhaps the oldest book ever composed or written. It is one of our most revered texts.  It is a profound work of great literary excellence. Nirad C Chaudhuri refers to it in his book The Continent of Circe. From the Rigveda to the epics, especially the Mahabharata, one faces a consistent attitude towards sex life. For example, in the Rigveda,  Indrani, the Queen Goddess, defies the virility of her lord, Indra, the King God and thunder-bearer, in these words: “He achieves not — he whose….. hangs limp between the thighs; achieves he alone whose hairy… swells up when he lies.” The dots are my contribution. 

As a contrast, I quote from “Meghaduta” by Kalidas. Every time I read him, I am overwhelmed by his genius and poetical sublimity. I quote stanza III, page III of Chandra Rajan’s translation: “And further he said this: once in bed asleep, still clinging to my neck you wake up on a sudden, weeping a little and when I asked why again and again, ah you cheat, I saw you in my dream playing with another woman.”

Broadly speaking, 95 per cent Hindus are not only hypocritical about sex and sexual activities, but they are also full of contradictions. Boys and girls even today cannot mix freely. Yet, they accompany their parents to temples where the linga and yoni are worshipped.

Even ascetics cannot deny that sex is universal. Human being and animals cannot do without it. About 1.3 billion Indians did not descend from the sky. They came into the world because their parents shared the same bed.

I have been re-reading the Kamasutra and the Rigveda. So far, none has dared to ban the former. Why? Because it, particularly grotesquely illustrated editions, is in great demand. The exact date of its seeing the light is not known. KM Panikkar claims it was composed in 4th century AD. It is generally agreed that it is perhaps among the oldest treatise on sex. Chinese sexology is even older. Japan is not far away.

Most parts of the Kamasutra are neither vulgar nor obscene. Taken as a whole Vatsyayana’s creation is, in some ways, an eulogy of love. He was free from deception.  The second half is dull, repetitive and often hilarious. The chapters on “Sexual Union”, “The Embrace” and “Kissing” etc are laughable. 

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Sheila Dikshit and I have been known to each other for a quarter of a century. She is the third longest-serving chief minister— 15 years. The other two are Jyoti Basu of West Bengal — 22 years — and Mohan Lal Sukhadia of Rajasthan — 17 years.

Sheila Dikshit, in her own unobtrusive manner, changed Delhi in several areas. That is not in dispute. The most visible are the flyovers, but the Bhagidari system has been a gamechanger.

Her 173-page autobiography, Citizen Delhi, was published last month. It is as unassuming and understated as she is herself. No self-promotion, no showing off, no ideological hang-ups, no adjectival overdose, no claptrap, no name dropping. What the reader can learn from Sheila’s book is how to manage human beings, how to understand their political and social behaviours and how to renovate Delhi.

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Earlier in the week, I spent a couple of hours in the Central Hall of Parliament. If one wants to know what is happening in the country, this is the place to be in. Political education is instance. The place combines caution and verbal recklessness, irony and humour, melancholy and effervescence.

The delegates’ lounge of the UN building is a larger international arena and the best location for an instant crash course on what is happening in the world. Members of 193 countries are seen in lively discussions and texts of resolutions to be tabled are scrutinised with utmost care and caution. The outcome of their deliberation is largely acceptable.

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Newspapers on February 8 carried an item which drew the readers’ attention to a BJP MP’s alleged remarks. Vinay Katiyar suggested that Muslims should not even be living in this country. They should either go to Bangladesh or Pakistan. Could the MP arrange transportation of 18 crore Muslims to Pakistan and Bangladesh?

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