The Rise of Communal Porn: What the Kathua Girl Search Says About Us

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The Rise of Communal Porn: What the Kathua Girl Search Says About Us

Illustration: Akshita Monga/Arré

T

he nation was boiling over with outrage over the Kathua and Unnao rape cases. A stone’s throw from my cosy apartment in Mumbai’s Santacruz, people were chanting slogans, taking out marches, holding candlelight vigils. But why waste your hard- earned Sunday on a protest? You’d rather do something “productive” – like watching porn in the comfort of your air-conditioned room.

That’s what India – at least a large section of it – did. In fact, the eight-year-old girl who was gang-raped in a temple in Kathua, became the top trending search on XVidoes, a popular porn website. As awful as it sounds, people, I assume, were searching for the rape video of the girl.

According to a report published by Outlook magazine, “The trending search proves the large voyeuristic and sadistic consumer base for miseries of other people in India, which according to a recent study are among the most ‘prolific consumers’ of internet pornography, accounting for 40 per cent of the website’s 14.2 billion visits.” The search terms coupled her name with regular porn terms like “MMS”, “rape”, “clip”, and “Muslim”.

It is common knowledge that what makes a porn video worth your time is “a good story”. Brazzers understood this long ago, so did Naughty America. So how can the Indian porn uploader be far behind in creating fictions around smut? After all, we are a nation that invented planes before the Wright Brothers, didn’t we?

We invented “love jihad”, so what can stop us from inventing Indian porn with a communal twist? Bhabhi-devar porn is a thing of the past. What makes a good story, worth fantasising about is that of a Muslim bhabhi and a Hindu devar. You want better? Then you should check out “Muslim girl-Indian boy”. Because Indian = Hindu, remember we are a Hindu Rashtra? A quick search of “Muslim girl-Hindu boy” on another popular porn website throws up a whopping 2,73,560 results. If you switch the religions, the results are almost as many. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Indian porn uploader just amended the title of underperforming videos by adding keywords like Hindu, Muslim, and Paki to crack the code of the nation’s fantasy.

Since India’s porn users seem to be a “politically aware” lot, the comment section turns into a battleground, with people from both communities defending their faith – but united in slut-shaming the girl. It’s the perfect guide to make a sixth standard child understand the first line of his Social Science book – “India is a secular country.”

But the Rubicon is well and truly passed when the communal angle is layered with a horrific rape. And murder. Of a minor.

I understand that some of this pornography is “harmless”, or at least as harmless as pornography can be. Gun to my head, if I were to defend the indefensible, I could argue that so long as it is consensual, the worst that adding a communal twist to smut achieves is slaking our thirst for a forbidden union. It allows the physical manifestation of a disgusting desire to see Muslim women’s bodies dominated and humiliated.

But the Rubicon is well and truly passed when the communal angle is layered with a horrific rape. And murder. Of a minor.  

We blame Sanji Ram. We shame MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar. We blame their accomplices. They’re the ones who fulfilled their perverted fantasies or let the inner beast get the better of them. But what about the Indian porn uploader, his faithful audience, and the comments section enthusiasts? Aren’t they also a part of this factory of deep-rooted communal hatred that gets its most perverted vent on smutty forums?

What we should be protesting about on the streets along with a demand for #JusticeForAsifa, and a fast-track trial, is the deviance in the minds of our men. What we need to do is look inward. But such placards will never be held up during a protest on Carter Road. They’ll safely remain hidden in the corners of our bedrooms with our 128 mbps internet connections.  

So I’m not going to Carter Road. Instead, I’m going off porn. Because the one thing that used to be an escape from the dark realities of our times, has suddenly become a representative of it.  

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