Monday, June 16, 2008

India: the Place of Sex

In this article in New York Times' book section website titled "India the Place of Sex" the following is what William Dalrymple has to say:

"As James McConnachie makes clear (in his study of the Kamasutra in his book Book of Love), the Kamasutra was in many ways an act of resistance against the growing tide of Hindu and Buddhist ascetic puritanism that was beginning to question the libertine lifestyle of the third-century nagarikas—or young men about town—at whom the text was aimed. These polygamous and hedonistic nagarikas sound a little like characters from a classical Indian version of Sex and the City. They "incline to the ways of the world and regard playing as their only concern," writes Vatsyayana. Such a man, he writes, chooses to live in a city "where there are smart people" or "wherever he has to stay to make a living." He sets up the perfect home, "in a house near water, with an orchard, separate servants quarters, and two bedrooms." One is for sleeping. The other is devoted entirely to sex. Inside he keeps his vina to strum, implements for drawing, a book, garlands of flowers, a board for dice, and cages of pet birds. His bed should be "low in the middle and very soft, with pillows on both sides and a white top sheet." His orchard should have a sturdy swing.

"In the early evening the nagarika should attend a courtesan's salon, to discuss art, poetry, and women. Later he should visit a musical soiree before returning home to await his lover. If she arrives wet from the monsoon rain he should courteously help her change, before retiring to the frescoed bedchamber which has been festooned with flowers and made fragrant with incense. Dancers and singers will amuse the lovers as they chat and flirt. Only then are the musicians sent away—and the lovemaking begins."

So, seeing all the prudishness prevalent in our cities (remember the moral brigade that swooped on lovers holding hands in parks?) one wonders where all the nagarikas have gone?

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