A friend (who declined to be indentified), a beacon of high morality, always used to tell me that the students of DPS (Delhi Public School) are , by and large, debauched rich kids who go to school for merry -making. Which in my opinion is exactly how a school should be—Riverdale, the school at Beverly Hills 90210 , DPS and of course my alma-mater South Point High School (which rocks yo !) have all strived to impart knowledge without forgetting ” a little bit of Erica on the side”.
My friend’s worst notion about DPS was confirmed this week by the sex -tape (or clip cause its very brief and retails for Rs 40 at Palika Bazar) that has become the rage all over the nation. (As an aside, this sex-tape has made the MMS market in India just like Halo made it for the XBox). Of course the moral guardians are shocked—–as if the fact that this class 11 couple were engaging in lewd acts was not enough, the boy and girl were unrepentant —the boy sold this clip for Rs 100 each to his pals (a profit of 150% over the market price–good business sense) and the girl told the principal that she found nothing wrong in it and everyone was doing it closing her argument by asking the principal–“Don’t you” ? Touche.
The school retaliated in the same way institutions usually do—by expelling the concerned students. What puzzles me is how it is the school’s call to expel two students engaging in consensual “exploratory” acts —-it’s just another case of institutions acting as moral guardians . This is just a manifestation of a wider malaise: of governments, schools and other institutions getting their “briefs” wrong—-each of them try to transcend their primary responsibilities (governance and education) in order to impose a code of morality on their subjects.
As an example of this , the Indian government has enshrined in the Indian Penal Code the definition of “acts against Nature” (which includes homosexuality and many of the stuff that make sex enjoyable) which empower them, theoretically, to arrest anyone engaged in such lewdity even when it is consensual and private. [Recently a Supreme court judgment ruled that homosexuality cannot be accepted as normal and should remain an “act against Nature”—the way a venerable judge is allowed to impose his own personal bias on the entire country is scandalous]. Similar is the government’s viewpoint on pornography and prostitution : it goes on everywhere and we all know that it does (just like school sex) —but it is technically a crime.
And so the newspapers have gone to town blaming this incident on the increasing promiscuity of our culture. Which is a load of crap. The desire to do “illicit” things is basic human nature (from Eve partaking the apple)—something that does not change with age. It’s just that chat and cellphones have made it easier for girls and guys to find like-minded versions of each other and indulge in stuff which our generation could not. And that was not because we didn’t want to but because we didn’t have the opportunity.
Coming back to the controversy, DPS banned the use of cell phones inside the school after the incident…….Hello? It’s the camera inside the cellphone that took the pictures not the cellphone. And the acts were not on school premises—-how will the school prevent camera phones/digicams at home? As usual in their obscene hurry to do something (about which nothing can be done) the DPS authorities did something that makes no sense.
In conclusion , the boy and the girl in question do not deserve to be punished. One of them has shown good business sense in selling something (over which he does not have exclusive ownership) at a premium and laudable business ethics. While management usually sits and lords over the workers and eats off their labor, here is one who is doing the “dirty” work himself. The girl has shown true scientific temper in wanting to experiment (a latter day Madame Curie). One has to remember it’s not just sex (which is ho-hum) but sex in front of the camera like Paris Hilton and Pam Anderson. If the sex video boosted the careers of these fine ladies why is it that this girl now stands a pariah ? It’s notjust getting horizontal that she should be remembered for but for the fact that she stood up for her convictions in front of the principal and won a point—now if that’s not courage under fire pray tell me what is? I say to these fine examples of youth : may your tribe increase. As old George Bush would say: victory to the coalition of the willing ! Amen.