Western Culture is not responsible for Sex, Alcohol and Gambling Problems in India – 16 Jan 13

Yesterday I explained that many people blame the influence of western culture for all the sexual crimes happening in India. The west has become a scapegoat not only for everything that goes wrong related to sexuality here but for so many other problems, too! People curse the west whenever they see people gambling, people blame the west if their family members have alcohol problems and yes, most of all they are angry with the west when there are sex scenes on TV, when children ask about sex or when horrible sexual crimes happen. Let me explain you why it is totally unreasonable to blame the west for all these problems.

Let’s begin with the problem of gambling. In India, gambling is illegal. The only casinos that you can find in this country are in Goa – nowhere else can you legally participate in games of luck. Nevertheless thousands, if not millions of people regularly get their rush of adrenaline by putting their money in card games and bets. Sometimes they win but mostly they lose. They get addicted to it, to the excitement in that moment but also to the hope, the possibility that they could someday hit the jackpot, win millions and be super-rich. Instead, they usually go out of such games as the losers. Some of them lose big-time, ruining their lives in the course, bringing grief to their family members. Many religious people claim that it is the west that brought this vice to India.

The same is being said about drinking and alcohol. The problems that liquor, beer and wine bring with them are known to everyone. People get drunk, behave as though they have no control over themselves and even become violent, damaging other people’s property, beating their families or committing crimes. In India, only licensed shops can sell alcohol and there are no TV advertisements promoting alcohol or cigarettes, it is not allowed.

I agree that all these things are bad. I agree that people should neither gamble nor should they drink. I cannot however agree to the blame on western culture. It is not the modern western culture that brought alcohol to India, nor did westerners teach gambling here! Gambling is nothing new and not such an invention that it cannot have been made in different places of the world! People were gambling and drinking already in the time when the Hindu scriptures were written! In the Mahabharat time gambling existed and is mentioned there. Other scriptures describe 64 arts in which human can excel – and one of them is gambling! Similarly, the Vedas describe that alcohol is given to Gods at the altar as an offering!

When it comes to the question of sex, I have basically a very different opinion from all those religious people who blame the west for the degeneration of values in India, who blame sexual crimes on the sexual openness of the west. I believe you should not be suppressing your instincts and generally treat sex in a more natural way. I still oppose the idea though that this all is only a western concept! Who were the engineers and architects of the erotic sculptures in temples all over India? Who imagined and depicted the scenes on the temple walls of Khajuraho, Konark and so many other places? They had not come from the west, they were Indians! Vatsyayana, the writer of the Kamasutra, probably the oldest and most popular erotic text, had not travelled to India from America or Europe!

Gambling and alcohol have had a very bad effect in our culture. Sex is not a problem in itself but insofar as there is lots of sexual harassment and sexual crime. The root of these problems however is not in the west! In fact, the problems that we see today in India are much worse than they are in the west! You blame the west that people gamble there openly and they even build casinos for that. In reality however, much less people lose all their money in casinos there. Many more just go there, take a certain amount and if they lose it, they go home. Alcohol, too, is used in a very different way. You see people who regularly drink a glass of wine or a bottle of beer – but don’t get out of control and start behaving like animals! Sex is treated much more openly but men don’t start randomly touching women in busses or crowds.

Don’t get me wrong, I am neither promoting alcohol or gambling here, nor do I want to copy western culture. I am not admiring the culture in the west, as I clearly see the drawbacks and all the problems that people have there. I just want to oppose the idea and opinion that the west has brought problem with alcohol, gambling and sexual crimes to India. It is just not true.

You are cursing western culture, you are cursing whatever comes from there, saying it ruins your culture and your country. If you are of this opinion, please properly think about what you say and act accordingly. First of all, throw away your pants and shirts and put on a dhoti. What you are wearing is western clothing, not Indian. Get off facebook and sell your iPhone – that is definitely not Indian! You are living in a modern world – if you condemn everything that comes from the west, you will have to give up a lot. See what modern science has given to you, see what is medically possible now, just because of research done in the west! Of course, there were researchers, scientists and geniuses in India, too, but most people were too busy in their ceremonies and rituals to participate. And those who did help in making this world more modern will certainly not condemn western contribution!

Open your eyes and you hearts and accept that there are faults and drawbacks in every country. Concentrate on the positive sides and try to make a change.