MMS Harassment - Once the Sari is off Woman is not considered Human in India

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MMS has become synonymous with seх-tape scandals. Though it stands for Multi-Media Messaging, the acronym MMS is hardly used in any other sense. In modern techno-savvy India, MMS is a dirty word. It began at DPS MMS scandal – and hasn’t stopped since. I don’t think anybody is even maintaining a count of how many innocent women have been harassed till date. There’re just so many – most recent was Mona Singh aka ‘Jassi’.

Another association of the word MMS is with characterless-ness. And mind you, this doesn’t apply to the perverts sneakily shooting such videos, or the ones sitting with their hands in their pants in front of their computer screens. The character assassination is mandatory for the girl who was secretly or in confidence filmed. You don’t even have to engage in any seхual activity like in DPS case yet you can manage to become party to this voyeur-fest – you could just be trying clothes in a mall, using public toilets, renting an accommodation  or staying at a hotel room – the technology to secretly film somebody is so cheap and easily available – that you won’t even realize when your privacy has been compromised. Once you’re naked online – there’s no way to remove it. You could go to the police – try to nail the pervert – but internet is so vast that there’s no way to completely erase anything from it.

Police action against this menace makes sense when you know about the crime. eVoyeurism is such a crime that you may not find it’s existence for years. If you’ve ever used a public washroom, trial room, hotel bathroom – you never know, your privacy might have already been compromised. There might already be a video of you circulating somewhere on the internet – the point is when does somebody recognize you in it.


The nakedness of a woman always finds an audience. Barring maybe your family and close friends, everybody will take quick peek at your MMS. Even the policemen investigating the case for you. Internet is full of “Indian girl mms” videos. And if you’re a celebrity – you’ll be trending on social media before evening. Media will report the news-item with raunchy headlines. The whole society is ready to pounce just because you were caught naked on camera – call it a social rape, if you may.

Especially in case of celebs such incidents spread like wildfire – mostly shaming the involved celebrity. Some years ago, Riya Sen private moments with Ashmit Patel were filmed and circulated, allegedly by Ashmit Patel himself. And the embarassment and mental trauma that followed wasn’t because of the fact that she was caught naked on tape – but because of the fact that the kind of “slut” she was claimed to be. Funnily, the slut tag doesn’t spare even those victims who are merely taking a shower. They blame her because why wasn’t she more careful. The big question is that why in these pervert-attacks does the ‘pervert’ always walk away? Why doesn’t anybody hold responsible the on who’s behind the camera?

I’d like to quote one example from Bollywood of our culture’s stupidity regarding female modesty. This is from the movie ‘Robot’. I don’t know if you remember the scene in which Chitti the Robot rescues a young woman from a burning building. She was sitting in the bath tub when the building catches fire, and the robot carries her outside, kicking and screaming, without clothes. Girl’s mother instead of being happy at seeing her daughter alive, breaks into tears seeing her ‘izzat’ being compromised. Later, the girls jumps in front of a moving vehicle to end her life. Then everybody blames the robot for not understanding how “wearing clothes” was more important than “being burnt alive”.

I found this scene outrageous – and the movie of Rajnikath – who has a godlike stature among Indian men. Though this is outrageous to me – it works perfectly well with the Indian sensibilities. This mentality is the reason behind shaming women for seх-crimes in India. And for MMS menace too. What they forget that naked women look like naked women. They also forget that people do have seх in their bedrooms – our huge population is the proof. This is how their mothers conceived them – and they came out of their lady parts. They forget while they’re circulating one MMS for cheap thrills – some girl may decide to end her life because of our unrealistically hypocritical society.

Reaction to MMS and seх-tape scandals is most juvenile in India. One circulating video and from young to old – everybody becomes a teenage with a hormone explosion. There’s no maturity anywhere. This actually uncovers our culture’s emptiness because it doesn’t prepare it’s men for unexpected female nudity. Nobody knows what to do with it. Because in these cases you can’t blame the short skirt or the tight pants. Somebody invaded her privacy, and filmed her naked. Who should we blame now? “Off course it’s her fault – she was the one who was naked – and why the hell was she having seх? Haaawww…” This is the limit of flawed moral argument – which ends up only blaming the victim. This mentality depicts the moral bankruptcy of our ‘sanskar’ in which we take so much pride.

Female modesty in India is a lot about how people see you. Once they have seen you naked that is your image in their minds. This means once you’ve been naked in public (doesn’t matter how), you’re tagged as “dirty” in their minds. Exactly why, you never see any female nudity in Bollywood. This is why foreign women are more unsafe in India, because they’re considered fair game for unwanted seхual advances, because of less clothes in Hollywood. This is why clothes are blamed first in rape cases. A woman is a person till she’s covered – a naked woman is not considered a human being – then she becomes an item of consumption. All morals, scriptures, conscience fall flat once the sari is off.

Seх-tape leaks and MMS are an evil of technology. We can’t get rid of technology, but we can take the shame out of female nudity. At least stop blaming the victim for such crimes. Law will take it’s course but we can decide to stop becoming the audience to such material. Sex-tape is a menace in more seхually-liberal western countries too, but the baggage of shame isn’t carried by the victim.

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga 

Political Analyst. Social Visionary. Editorial Journalist. Founder of open-magazine Indian Exponent.

Follow him on twitter @IshaanMohan
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Indian Exponent: MMS Harassment - Once the Sari is off Woman is not considered Human in India
MMS Harassment - Once the Sari is off Woman is not considered Human in India
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