On the topic of Sunny Leone, an open letter to the Left | editorials | Hindustan Times
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On the topic of Sunny Leone, an open letter to the Left

CPI leader Atul Kumar Anjan has stoked a controversy by saying that a condom advertisement featuring former porn star Sunny Leone will destroy people’s sensibility and lead to more rapes in India. Here is an open letter to the Left.

editorials Updated: Sep 09, 2015 10:48 IST
Dhrubo Jyoti
Sunny-Leone-in-Manforce-condom-commercial
Sunny-Leone-in-Manforce-condom-commercial

Dear Comrade,

It has been a long time but I must admit it was nice to hear from you yesterday.

Between a rampaging Mamata and your own cultivated goons turning on you, it has been quiet from your side for the past few years – I was even beginning to forget how to spell bourgeois and do a smart Laal Selaam, though I still keep the impregnable Russian communist literature handy in case my Bengali friends trip on their Trotsky.

But good as it felt to see a Left leader back on primetime television, what you said, comrade, left me dismayed. Were you really saying Sunny Leone was the reason behind rising incidents of rape in India – that if television channels showed condom advertisements, people would turn into feral animals and rape the next person they saw?

You then went on to shame Sunny Leone for her previous profession as an adult film actress and said it made you vomit – though I didn’t understand if it was the condom or the porn that made you throw up. Anyway, you then blamed her for developing our sexuality -- God forbid, this nation of 1.2 billion immaculate conceptions learns how to have sex.

Read |Sunny Leone's condom ad will lead to more rapes: CPI leader

You want us to not promote condoms because of some magic that makes every man want to rape each time they look at some harmless stringy rubber. Also, to be honest, the Manforce ad I saw on television was fairly innocuous – Leone lounging in lingerie and walking around some dystopian orchard – and a little boring, so I’m not sure what made you imagine young men frothing at the mouth with raging libidos. I don’t think Lenin would approve.

I saw comrade that you were speaking at a farmers’ union rally and so am a little confused how you brought in Sunny Leone, unless you thought the gods are angry about the pornography and are withholding the monsoon. Oh but wait, you don’t believe in god, do you?

To be honest, I found it a little unbelievable that you first watched porn hours before the rally. Come on, comrade, even Stalin had his colourful affairs, though I’m not sure any of them escaped the gulag.

But your speech has put me in a bind. I’m not sure what to do next. See, if it were a BJP leader saying these things, I had my JNU-approved speech ready about how this was a saffron-sponsored reactionary communal talk that was irresponsible. But you’re not them, no, comrade? You’re one of us – the educated, erudite Left – and I swear by the potholes of Calcutta, we are the ones who lecture others, not get lectured.

Should I thank Sunny if she really did develop our sexuality, because heaven knows, this repressed nation could use some conversation around sex – like it is a normal bodily function, not some demon we dust out in our late fifties after having lost multiple elections.

Should I tell you that rapes are a crime, which don’t happen because of women but power and defunct laws? That blaming women for rapes is wrong and misogynistic?

Should I tell you that the reason we have been thrown out of most states is because we refuse to move with the times?

The Left parties believe a foreign blueprint for a revolution can be imposed on India and people will follow us if we brainwash them enough. If that doesn’t work, destroy the economy, health and education system so that everyone is dependent on you – see our excellent work in West Bengal – and then the proletariat will rule, because no one has any money left.

We think we can lecture others on class politics and plight of the poor but think it is okay to shut our politburo to women and lower castes. We think it is alright to scoff at any other politics than ours – who else has read Das Kapital 20,000 times and recite Lenin in our sleep – but think the world is ready to be ruled by an upper caste man, who pretends to be poor.

As much as I want to believe in the unicorn and Soviet Union, I have bad news, comrade: The utopia is gone and it isn’t coming back. We can try and regurgitate sexism/casteism and sing homilies for the poor but the public has called our bluff. So much so that huge labour successes such as the recent workers’ strike isn’t attributed to the Left parties’ abilities.

I understand the last few years have been hard, comrade, but when the public chooses every possible alternative over you, it is time to look inwards than find new targets.

The Aam Aadmi Party and Mamata have shown that while the Left is alive and kicking in India, Left parties are dying and attacking Sunny Leone isn’t going to revive them. Burning buses and blocking roads aren’t paying dividends even in our Moscow, Kolkata. It is time to change, comrade.

Lal Selaam and long live Lenin,

A reformed communist

* Sorry for the various divine references. I hope bhagwaan Marx won’t mind.

The views expressed by the writer are personal. He tweets @dhrubo127