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Indian Journal of Community Medicine

Let's Call the Bluff of this Fundamentalism

Author(s): Singh AJ.

Vol. 31, No. 3 (2006-07 - 2006-09)

Singh, AJ has taken the bull by its horns1. We should restore the dignity and force of some qualitative arguments in science to call a spade a spade. It is very difficult to resist the corporate of sex. Peddlers of ‘sexy’ education under the garb of HIV/RTI prevention or adolescent health or any other progressive looking pretext need to be identified. Today, a climate is being slowly created where it’s not important to be ideologically or scientifically correct. To keep the international reward systems in good humor you need to be politically correct, and being ‘ideologically sexy’ is marketed as a strong predictor of political correctness and upwardly mobile modernity. In this envionment, the science has been reduced to a mercenary who is used as long as it suits the market of knowledge.

Having sex before marriageable age should not be pushed as a matter of fundamental right or the ‘right of personal choice in a free society’. Emancipation comes with huge costs and greater responsibilities. Free society doesn’t mean irresponsible stakeholders. Parents and teachers have a right to say that they should also play a major role in the decision-making about sex education. A parent is certainly a bigger stakeholder than a traveling expert on an academic excursion. Sex is too important and sensitive an issue to be left to ‘sex educationists’. However in today’s environment, sex educationists prove to be more equal than others simply because of their vicinity to ruling structure. It goes without saying that the issue of ‘sex and youth’ is very complex which also involves huge corporate profits. Such an issue can’t be left to a bunch of self-proclaimed ‘wise people’ on a mission, nothing short of rampage, to shape our future. One can easily identify the fundamentalism that is essential to the present model of sex education. Here are some of the markers of fundamentalism in this idiom:

  • We are new people. New people need new sexuality. Our model provides the only correct path to new and healthy sexuality.
  • Traditional and indigenous is not good. What we offer is good.
  • Most parents and teachers have old and traditional mindsets. It goes without saying that traditional mindset is an irrational and unhealthy mindset.
  • We have decided what is good for young people. Now we will create evidence base to support what we have assumed ‘a priori’.
  • We can be judgmental about everything (if it suits us) though we teach our practitioners to renounce ‘judgmental attitude’. We will pass judgments on morality though morality is none of our business.

Evidence base is like history. It belongs to ruling classes. Overwhelming proportion of research belongs to funding agencies. It is the street and street people who acutely expose the shortcomings and pitfalls of resource-rich glamour, frequently camouflaged as ‘evidence-base’ and ‘science’. The intellectual biases which are inherent in the idiom of modern sexuality are very hard to scientifically document but at the same time they stand shamelessly necked in today’s media and market. Let’s call the bluff of this idiom.

1 Singh AJ. Sex education in Indian schools through
Indian J Community Medicine. 2006;31:3-5.
Sanjay Chaturvedi, Professor
Deptt. of Community Medicine,
UCMS & GTB Hospital, Delhi-95
E-mail: [email protected].

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