India: Bangalore Literature Festival 2016: exploring sexuality in Indian literature

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The Indian prudishness towards sexuality is often blamed on Victorian mores, but economist author Gurucharan Das, presently working on a fictional memoir Kama argued that the prudishness pre-dated Victorian age by many centuries. He was speaking at the Bangalore Literature Festival on Sunday.

“The beginning of Rig Veda starts with desire (kama) of the maker to create. But why did we become prudish? Like Vatsayana who wrote the Kama Sutra, there were many Kama Optimists, but early on there were the renouncers, ascetics, the Kama pessimists. We did have two parallel strands. The Kama Pessimists were threatened by desire that is uncontrollable. There was then a compromise between the two camps and the compromise was that sex was acceptable as long as it was within marriage. Then came Manu, who wrote one of the Dharma Shastras that blamed the woman for Kama, pushing us into this prudishness,” argued Gurucharan Das. He also added the creation of characters like Sita and Savitri were done to rein in the women. “If Dharma is one’s duty to another, Kama is duty to oneself,” he added. Read more

Source: The Hindu

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