There was much outrage when a few days ago Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the new Health Minister, in an interview with the New York Times, stated that the best way to combat the AIDS epidemic would be to essentially ensure fidelity between husband and wife, which is supposedly a “part of our culture”. In a play of words he also stated that the campaigns focusing solely on the usage of condoms could be enabling ‘illicit’ sexual relationships.
The read between the lines is necessary. Peek very, very, closely and you will see what Mr. Vardhan actually means; some people just don’t exist or shouldn’t.
- Gay people don’t exist and are not having sex.
- Unmarried people are not having sex.
- Noone in India uses recreational drugs through intravenal injections.
- There is absolutely no prostitution in India.
- These people should simply disappear. Why bother helping them?
Don’t you see? All the sex ought to be among the straight, upstanding, married citizens of India.
What’s that? The largest democracy in the world you say? Everyone has the right to enjoy their bodies? Oh, go back to school! You clearly need to understand that dangerous thoughts like that are communicable and are NOT a part of our culture.
Let us forget the fact that of the cases reported, over 80% are a result of unprotected sex, as per the National Aids Control Organization.
Now, we could easily term our minister to be just another obtuse politician, but the sad fact of the matter is that he is responsible for governing and ensuring health programs on a nationwide scale. When the media focus is so strong on the new government, one would assume that they would pick a minister with an iota aorta of intelligence (bad medical pun for the bad minister!)
(*Image Source : Facebook)
What is interesting is that the outrage from the junta has been creative. Overnight memes mocking him were trending on Twitter and being liked ad nauseum on Facebook. Implications are clear; don’t EVEN bother being regressive and deciding the moral code. The nation is watching closely.
Also, let us just take this moment to recognize the work of the nameless faceless social workers who are trying to ensure that people with AIDS and HIV get their basic human right to treatment and organizations that are tirelessly working to ensure that condoms are distributed and safe sex is emphasized among high risk groups. ‘Coz sometimes the real heroes don’t get much media coverage!