Some people ask what one gets from milk. The answer is it depends upon what one adds into the milk. If one adds sugar one gets sweetness and if one adds lemon the milk turns sour. If one adds acid the milk turns into poison. The output depends upon the input. The same fact applies to children, adolescents and youth. They are sacred and energetic like milk. If we do not lead them to right direction, the nation will not be able to utilise their energy properly.
Today, Bharat faces three major challenges about youth and adolescents—cyber pornography, drugs and violence. The Government of Bharat has taken a praiseworthy step by blocking more than 850 pornographic websites. But some people are opposing this step in the name of freedom of expression. However, the Government now seems to be defencive after such protests, which it should not be. Freedom in our culture has been given high significance. I also love freedom, but equally I am worried for bright future of our youth and adolescents. That is why I filed a petition
before the Petition Committee of Rajya Sabha seeking immediate ban on cyber pornography. The Report
of that Committee has just been
tabled in the Parliament.
The issue is not of curbing freedom, the real issue is the youth are getting misled through cyber pornography, which not only leads them to moral degradation but also deviates from their career. Adolescent age has three basic components—query, experiment and courage. When an adolescent comes into the contact of pornographic websites (which are easily accessible today), he is trapped in many problems. I feel those who are crying for freedom of speech should work for giving a positive direction to the youth. Our Constitution also talks about reasonable restrictions while referring to freedom.
The second issue is unprecedented increase in violence, especially sexual violence against women. The culprits in many such cases are adolescents below the age of 18 years. In some cases the height of cruelty has been witnessed. Have we ever conducted any scientific study of the changes in behaviour of the adolescents? I feel if we conduct any such study we would find one of the prime reasons as pornography being served through media. Many studies conducted at international level are available in this regard. We should pay a serious attention to them. Why one should oppose the blocking of porn websites without going into the facts? I feel the Government should constitute a committee involving social scientists and other experts to apprise the nation of the consequences of pornography.
The third issue is of burgeoning commercialisation. Porn industry is growing rapidly. Is the increase in this industry not because of growing exploitation of women, especially the adolescent girls? Do the pornographic websites lead to the empowerment or welfare of women? Do those opposing blockage of these websites ever tried to understand the problem with that angle? I appeal to all the people to think over the issue without bias and in the interests of humanity as well as future of the nation.
We have our own concept of freedom and we do not need to blindly ape the West in this regard. Today, cyber pornography has become a tool for promoting human trafficking, sex tourism and many other inhuman acts. If it is not banned forthwith no power will be able to curb human trafficking. Many women organisations are also opposing cyber pornography due to all these reasons. Are all such organisations against freedom of women? If not, we should think over the problem from all angles.
Some people are also trying to give it a religious colour. They even cite the example of Khajuraho temples. Those who have seen those sculptres would understand better that there is no any such sculpture inside the temples. They are seen only outside. It is basically to show the people that outside world is materialistic and one can find the ultimate truth only peeping inside. Now ignorant people are using these sculptures to support their wrong arguments. Forget culture, the ban on cyber pornography is must for protection of humanity and the ideals as well as values mentioned in the Constitution. If ban on porn sites is unconstitutional then the Censor Board of Film Certification is also unconstitutional.
Acharya Vijay Ratnasunder Surishwar (The writer is a leading saint and filed a petition before Petition Committee of Rajya Sabha on cyber pornography)