Shafiq R Khan

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Sexual Values in Hilly Regions

Globalization has started showing its effects, liberalized consumerism has brought forth many social problems and manifests in different forms and increased incidence of crime, sexual violence, suicides and psychological distress, disintegration of family and erosion of institutions of marriage.
Presently the established values and norms are fast changing .According to a sociological study conducted in Europe about 70% of the marriages are at risk, majority of the people disapprove of the single partner norm. Most of them favor lone (single) lifestyle. At least 10% of the respondents opined that selection of their partner becomes easy without entering into an institutionalized relationship of marriage, as the concerned individual is more stable emotionally and physically and is not bound by any restrictive norms. The growing acceptance of these kinds of approaches has resulted in many women enjoying and deriving psychological satisfaction without getting in marriage..

It is a matter of concern that though globalization has virtually transformed the world to a global village and facilitated fast flow of information and technologies and the Indian social system has also been affected by the changed perceptions and acceptances of the important social institutions like family and marriage।
The amazing and disturbing aspect is the subtle acceptance of these changed norms by our social systems, despite the fact that these neo changes in our total contrast to our traditional values and culture.
In the hilly regions of the country the social environment has been liberal particularly on these issues right from the prehistoric times, the society itself use to define and decide their own norms and values relating to sexual behavior. They had their own established systems and history is replete with many examples of women having more than one husband (Panchali Pratha), which was in vogue and is still prevalent in certain pockets of the hilly states of India. The social set up in these hilly regions was more liberal and the women folk had comparatively more freedom regarding the choice of their male partners and their say in dissolution of marriage, clearly borne by the prevalence of the norms Reet Kheet .In the earlier times matriarchal system prevailed in these regions.
The influence of the Indian culture (Vaishnav) was absent and the migration from the plains during the Mughal rule exposed these people to the vaishnava culture which was integrated in their social set up while still retaining their separate norms and values. The advent of the British further influenced the culture and value system of the hilly folks, especially in the regions contiguous to the hill stations developed by the British.
The post independence era in these regions was marked with lack of possibilities in the agro sector due to peculiar topography and low fertility and the promotion of the hill stations as tourism destinations especially honeymoon tourism.
In the light of the aforementioned facts, the periodic exposure and integration with other cultures has resulted in a dilemma especially for the present generation of these regions and in particular the liberal sexual behavior of the visiting tourists especially honeymooning couples has influenced the sexual norms of the local population and this has manifested in the disturbingly and rapid increase in the incidences of Porn MMS clippings, blue films involving the local youngsters.
On the other hand, increased tourist inflow has also resulted in proliferation of sex tourism and generation of Porn obscene films. Porn Clippings of school, college going girls both from urban and rural background are easily available. In majority of these cases the fear of being exposed is used as a clever ploy to further misuse these females and initiate them into commercial sex with businessmen and visiting tourists. Further there have been some cases where such females on being threatened of being exposed have been sold off by these unscrupulous elements in the neighboring states. Though these may seem to be regular marriages since the concerned female is under immense psychological duress is unable to raise her voice or object to this development and the same goes unnoticed both by the local social set up and the administrative machinery.

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