How Sunny Leone ‘Exposed’ Our Double Standards

Sunny Leone, former adult film star and now a successful Bollywood actor, was the most searched item on Google from India in 2015.

She has a wide fan following in India – a country which preaches sanskar (virtue) and chastity to the rest of the world. Millions of Indian fans are drawn to her movies, and porn clips, mostly hidden in password protected drives and secret folders.

Many ‘members-only‘ WhatsApp groups circulate her ‘work’ among drooling fans & pseudo-intellectuals. Most of the subscribers are married men, many with children her age.

How do I know? Well, I was part of one such WhatsApp group, “Husn ke Pujari“, till my children chanced upon it and told me “Papa, grow up”. Our group even considered inviting her for a course reunion but we simply couldn’t afford her on our shoestring ‘defence budget’. Many rich, sanskari Indian families were willing to pay more than us to have her over for their private parties.

No, I haven’t worn the chastity belt or taken sanyas yet. I only purged some (delectable) distractions so I could get on with real life.

So when the SGPC took umbrage to her biopic series ‘Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone‘ because it brought disrepute to the surname ‘Kaur’ and “hurt Sikh sentiments”, my eyes rolled in disbelief!

What sentiments?? Belonging to which part of the anatomy?

Today it is Sunny. Few years ago, a similar malicious campaign launched against renowned artist MF Hussain made him flee to Dubai, never to return. Then it was his flourishes with brush and colour that rubbed somebody’s religious sensibilities the wrong way. Sunny uses other props – albeit with the same arousal – for her audience.

“Here’s a woman, doing what she wants with her life and her body; consensually and not forcing her point of view on anyone else. She can’t outrage your modesty if you don’t participate”, a young, progressive Indian woman told me. Can you disagree with that?

Turns out, that ‘somebody’ is us. The stupid, misguided, hypocritical, bigoted Indian who can be led astray by pied-pipers who have appointed themselves custodians of our culture and conscience. Who gave them that right?

In Mumbai where I live, many young families push their children into painting & sketching classes with the hope that they become the next MF Hussain or Sayed Raza. And when their role models paint from the heart, we banish them to foreign shores. What sense does that make?

People buy 1TB flash drives to stow away their Sunny Leones and Stormy Daniels, but don’t utter a word when law-abiding citizens are unfairly targeted by fringe elements or lynched by mobs. We rush cows to the hospital while leaving bleeding and half-dead people on the road (read it here).

These fringe elements and self-proclaimed pseudo-nationalists have taken it upon themselves to protect our ‘sanskar‘, which they have themselves discarded in their lust for power and vote banks. How else do you explain this sudden upsurge of nationalism and ‘sensibility’ in this nation where children as young as two are raped and brutalized?

Haryana’s khap panchayats summarily issue ‘death sentence’ for many young couples. Their fault? They fell in love outside their social hierarchy. In our new order, perhaps love needs pre-verification with Aadhar and OTP. Haryana, like Kerala, has a dark underbelly of incest no khap or panchayat wants to acknowledge, because it is ‘andar ki baat’ (within family) and will affect family pride. How to make sense of this?

After the initial outrage and copious crocodile tears, in ‘God’s Own Country’ Kerala (that boasts of 100% literacy), an actor who allegedly organised the rape of a female colleague was back in the game within weeks. And how? The association that disowned him in the immediate aftermath of the incident (ironic, but called ”AMMA‘, an acronym that literally translates to ‘mother’ in Malayalam, the state’s dialect) welcomed him back into their fold because he pulls in millions with his misogynistic charades on the silver screen. Talk about chastity!

As per a report in The Times of India (24 Jul 18), Bihar police investigating the sexual exploitation of minor inmates at a government-run shelter home in Muzaffarpur district found that 29 out of 44 inmates in that ‘shelter’ were raped. One girl was beaten to death and buried within the campus by the shelter home employees. Where were the custodians of Indian chastity then?

Closer to the SGPC’s home turf, in Panchkula, more than 70 people were ‘invited’ through WhatsApp messages to a guest house to have sex with a 21-year old woman. And boy, did they come!

More irony. The alleged ringleader and guest house owner running the racket went by the name ‘Sunny’. What will happen to him or the case is anybody’s guess. Inside the turban or mundu, much sickness remains hidden while we continue to target the wrong ’causes’.

So much for hurting Sikh sensibilities. I want to tell all those who do moral policing something. Shed those robes of misplaced chastity. Like the emperor’s new clothes, it covers nothing. And the same goes for other self-appointed gatekeepers of our religious beliefs like the Travancore Devaswom Board.  You let your own community savage the vulnerable while training your misguided turrets on the wrong targets. Go read your holy books and let me read my Playboy. Oh wait…even that’s gone now! No worries! I have a ‘collector’s copy’ like many self-respecting Indians my age.

Let’s get this right. Sordid as it may sound, Karenjit Kaur a.k.a Sunny Leone is just another individual trying to earn her bread through hard work. She hasn’t raped, plundered, killed, or maimed; at least not yet. Everyone has a right to earn his or her livelihood in this country, keeping on the right side of the law. If you have an insecurity complex about your spouse, religion, surname, children, whatever – up your game. Her silence says ‘up yours’. And she’s done much better than you so far. With fewer words.

Improve the rule of law by nailing the real crooks – those who rape, abuse or torment their own; those who violate children; those who plunder our nation’s wealth and then escape abroad thumbing their nose at Mother India.

Karenjit Kaur returned to India; to her origins. She brought her stardom along, even if it was unconventional. She could have stayed back in Canada, US or wherever. She didn’t flee. She deserves her fans, not bans. And yes, if that matters to you, she has a happy family with a loving husband and three sweet children who stand by her. The same can’t be said for many in office who propagate vicious hate campaigns and garland lynch mobs to cement their place in government.

You want to punish her? It’s really very simple. Just delete those files, format those drives and stop feeding the roaches in your washroom. Soon, misguided organisations and fringe elements will hunt for other causes.

If we add more fuel to such malicious campaigns, a banana republic will stand where an edifice of tolerance & acceptance once stood.

Do you wish that to happen?


©KP Sanjeev Kumar, 2018. All rights reserved. I can be reached at Views are personal.

Cover photo from here

14 thoughts on “How Sunny Leone ‘Exposed’ Our Double Standards

  1. Well written KP usual.. but i would like to point out that she came to india ..not to get back to her roots but because there was a market here. And I think thats a good enough reason for shifting back. Madhuri dixit did.. she didnt want to get back to roots..she got back to where she was in demand.

    And to all those psuedo sanskaris…. Happy leoning!!!!

  2. Wonderful article Sir.

    I stopped my work to read this article…though very well written, the credit goes to Sunny Leone on the header.

    I absolutely agree with your view….it’s high time India gets over this so called moral policing….

  3. I remember her taking on a high profile Indian News TV anchor who was trying to be very condescending with her regarding her previous avatar as a pornographic actress. It was a real pleasure to see her shut him up with regards to his misogynist comments so tactfully and intelligently. I became a real fan of her then. She is a very smart woman. These pappus are no match for her. Well written, KP

  4. Hey KP, must have been in some mood writing this…ha ha… BTW missed being part of the exclusive WhatsApp gp you mentioned..wink wink..
    The US too is waking up to a new reality of their head of state being involved with ”ordinary’ citizens problems and see what a tsunami he’screated there.
    We are still struggling to come out of the closet so these things are bound to happen. Part of the ‘ coming out’ process…
    Well written KP and researched too…I hadn’t heard of half the incidents you mentioned!
    The argument that the ‘woman’ is to blame has long died off since the time minors, infants and toddlers getting raped is being reported, very sadly and shockingly, on almost a daily basis.
    We need to wake up and smell the coffee…
    Good work…not that you need me to certify that!

  5. Hi KP
    Again a nice one ‘Husan ke Pujari ‘,well when we grow up we grow old. So stay young. But then if the men were not pujaris then neither Bollywood or Hollywood would get hits on their flaunting of fair sex. Same for bare chests. So true that Sunny is also making a name where her market is. Who are we to judge.

  6. A private message I received from one of my readers is quoted below:

    “I have a totally different take on this. By glorifying her and making her a household name, lust has become as admissible a human trait as hunger. And for the millions of depraved Indian males from the hinterland, the widespread and free availability of porn, mainly those that feature this slut (i have no other term for her, sorry), males as young as 10 and as old as 90 are going around with hard ons and an urge to fornicate. Whenever. Whoever. Wherever. That, in brief explains the exponential and unbridled rise in rapes across our miserable populace. Clamp down firmly on porn and see what happens. Every indian male with a smart phone had oodles of porn freely available to him but not the means to live out the kind of fantasies potrayed by Sunny and her ilk. My opinion? In an uneducated and uncultured male dominatef set up like ours, she doesn’t belong. Let her get her brains fucked in Canada or wherever.”

    1. Problem statement convicting Ms Leone’s work or widespread availability of porn owing to cheap data and smartphones for shooting testosterones is interesting, though solution deficit. If Ms Leone was ‘silenced’, won’t Ms Daniels or another Ms Leone ‘Jr ‘ be substituted; considering porn viewing being highest for Egypt in middle east, where internet pronography is illegal, doesn’t help the case either.

      On the other hand, while clamping down on smoking has implicated a downward trend in India, remember, smoking isn’t natural like having a ‘hard on’ and therefore non-analogous !

      Relating use of internet to number of rape cases is incoherent. Statewise analysis of internet subsription and cases of rapes per lakh of population in India doesn’t support the idea of internet pornogrpahy being a causal factor for rape cases. Maximum cases of rape per lac of population in Sikkim having miserably low internet subsription, while second highest subscription of internet in Tamil Nadu with minimum rape cases is a testimony to this fact.

      When manuscripts evolved, porn emerged and was even appreciated; print technology gave ‘Playboy’ its existence along with yellow literature and we won’t have forgotten magnetic tapes played on VCRs rented overnight !!. Desirability of porn is natural and has been seamlessly supported by technology in the past. A bias against technology use for porn now is therefore incongrous.

      Rape cases are unpardonable and while pornogrpahy may have a role to play, controlling the controllables would be a pragmatic approach instead. Telling Ms Leone to go back to Canada isn’t one of them 🙂

      I opine that displayed belligerence towards Ms Leone and internet pornography is unfair.

  7. My response to the person quoted above is pasted here:

    “Let’s answer some questions. Who made sunny a household name? Was she or her ilk responsible for technology that brought her to every phone, every PC? Did she force herself upon you or those who watch her? Did she rape anybody? Did she violate your private space where you fornicate, make love, jerk-off, …or call it whatever? Is she responsible for 10-year olds who have access to porn? Is it a bad thing to be able to have a hard-on at 90 yrs? Who decides if ‘she should get her brains fucked in Canada’ or here in India? Today it’s sunny. Tomorrow it could be us, our children, our lifestyle, what we wear, what we eat, what we talk. Where does this moral policing end?
    Control and police the ones who rape, molest, resort to violence to push their agenda. Prostitution is the oldest industry known to mankind. As technology advances, it will morph into newer forms. Because it fills a need society cannot. Don’t blame the victims or the providers. Keep your hard-on. Then ask yourself: is it sunny? Or is it me?”

    1. One part I fully agree. Today she has been glorified so much that everyone would know who Sunny Leone is but wouldn’t know who is the Vice President of India….. this is what today’s media does KP … I agree with you that prostitution is the oldest profession of mankind but it was not so publicised , well researched and well talked about like the way you have done with …… i acknowledge the fact that it is her business like any other business …,.,but the question is should we talk , write and discuss about ???
      Cigarette smoking is injurious to health and is business of companies like ITC …. should we glorify the cigarette smoking ….. points to ponder

      1. Thanks, Sanjeev. To me, nothing is more precious than the freedom to do what we want of our lives. Sunny is just a hook for the larger story playing out in India today where we are slowly being coerced into seeing, wearing, eating, talking, writing etc, what people with money and muscle power want us to; not what we want to.

  8. I think Sunny India not to get back her roots, but because she felt that there was more commercial viability for her in India. There is nothing wrong in this – she is also a business person. I would say that this is a prime example of ‘Make in India’. As one of your readers has pointed out, even Madhuri did the same.

    Having said that, I believe that there are no blacks and whites here. Let’s look at Tinder or other dating sites (hook up sites actually). They definitely have made the task of hooking up easier. So at some level, free porn certainly does affect human minds – and relationships.

    But targeting Sunny itself is silly, and as one of your misinformed readers mentions – let her go back to Canada… That is a stupid statement. Her going back to Canada will not make any difference whatsoever. With the same logic Uber should go back to the USA and Harleys should be banned in India so that Indians shouldn’t have any quality transport at all.

    Plus, if someone does need porn to get a hard on, it would be better for that person to exercise self control if he wants.

    Last point – your post is sexist – how do you assume that Sunny is only there for men? You need to do a bit more research!!!

    Well written as always!

  9. Amazing. Access to porn+ women in particular clothing + say women having alcohol + living lives without male supervision= invitation to being teased, sexuality, molestation, rape.

    Porn is available in most parts of the world. That hasn’t translated into the equation above in those countries.

    Perhaps we have a catalyst called Misogynistic mindset which speeds up things along here.

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