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In defence of Dr Harsh Vardhan's views on sex education

Kiran Batni http://kiranbatni

Updated: June 28, 2014, 8:34 AM IST
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Dr Harsh Vardhan has come under attack from the media and several activists and thinkers for his opinion that fidelity in marriage is more important than using condoms in the fight against AIDS. His view that 'so-called sex-education' must be banned has not gone down well with them, either.

In case you haven't realized it, fidelity in marriage is considered a virtue in all religions, not just Hinduism which, incidentally, the Union Health Minister's political party acts as if it is the guardian of. In fact, emphasis on fidelity is the only sex education religions provide. From this standpoint, what gets called as 'sex education' today isn't that at all.

I wholeheartedly agree with Dr Harsh Vardhan that fidelity and abstinence continue to be the best form of defence against sexual disease, and that Yoga, which requires sexual abstinence to begin with, is certainly better than condoms in ensuring sexual health in society. If you stop to think freely for a moment, it must dawn on you that Dr Harsh Vardhan has only reiterated that prevention is better than cure.

But that is not the position many would like to take. Condom companies would go out of business if people abstained or took fidelity in marriage seriously. The porn industry with its departments in Hollywood and Bollywood would be hit, too. The lucrative project of building a society which foolishly turns to matter (in this case, rubber) to deal with diseases of the mind, would have to face formidable opposition.

Dr Harsh Vardhan's position, which takes on all this, has become unpalatable to the media and the activists because they have gone too far away from their cultural and religious roots - and I want to emphasize this - whatever their cultures or religions are. So far, that they have come to believe in the business-friendly but flawed idea that cure is better than prevention. This is the sum total of every attack on Dr. Harsh Vardhan's views that I have had the opportunity to read about. In other words, I wholeheartedly support Dr. Harsh Vardhan's views and find it pitiful that he is being made to eat his words.

Finally, I have another completely different point to make about this whole affair, and I will make it briefly so that the overall message of this article is not diluted. And that is, the very presence of the post of a Union Health Minister is problematic, as is the idea that the Central Government must have something to do in the field of education, whether it is sex education or otherwise. It is none of the Central Government's business to look into the health of every Indian or to try and educate him or her. Not only that, it is precisely because Dr. Harsh Vardhan wishes to transform society as a Union Minister that he shall fail. What a Union Minister can do, and will find a lot of support to do, is encouraging disease, not curing it. Why? Because the money is in disease, not health.

First Published: June 28, 2014, 8:34 AM IST

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