Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and controversies are inseparable. And he does it again that too on an occasion like the Children's Day. While attending a function at a school, a child asked him what kind of movies he watched as a child. He answered "We would not just watch movies, we have also watched adult movies of that era".
Although we are not sure what was the purpose of sharing this piece of detail with children, it seems he was just being 'humorous'. But the humoure did not go down too well with the critics who believed that the 'anecdote' was in bad taste since he also shared details of how he evaded pubishment at home by lying.
What he said
He said, "There was a popular (adult) movie. I was an adult at that time. Me and my brother had gone to watch it. During interval, when the lights came on and I realised that my neighbour was sitting next to me. This neighbour used to chat with my mother every evening. I told myself, we are dead."
He further added, "When we reached home I told my mother, we had gone for a movie and we did not know that the movie was vulgar... We left it (movie) mid-way. And very casually I told her, that our neighbour was also there and kept quiet."
"The next day, the neighbour excitedly called my mother to tell her that Manohar and Avdhoot had gone for an (adult) movie. My mother asked him, I know which movie they went for, but why did you go for the movie? You have to pre-empt certain things."
Appropriate versus the inappropriate
The Minister may have momentarily forgotten whom he is talking to and who is he setting examples for. Quite unlike our expectations of hearing him speak about the young freedom fighters of India or aspiring scientists or even the first PM of India, Parrikar surprised us with this unexpected stroke of insensitivity. This, when India is struggling to curb the menace of online porn distribution among the youngsters.
According to a report by the BBC, in the year 2015, India's telecom ministry ordered internet service providers to block access to 857 websites hosting pornographic content. The struggle did not end there, if we consider the Information Technology Act, 2000, which is a grey patch in the law where pornography is neither prohibited nor legalised.
After the 2015 regulation, all hell broke lose on the Government of India as it had to face criticism and scorn from all quarters of the country, forcing it to mellow down the law. Now, it asked service providers only to block sites that show child porn.
India's ban on pornography literally backfired as the number of searches on the internet spiked after the regulation. According to an article published by the Pornhub, the world's largest pornographic video-sharing website, Indians are believed to be among the largest consumers of Internet pornography and are the fourt largest population to consume the visual content after the United States, Britain and Canada.
Thanks to our rich history of celebrating sexuality with the Kamasutras, out youngsters know a tad bit more about sex than the other countries already. And then we have our ministers pouring oil in the already blazing fire. Seriously, Mr minister, didn't you have better examples to share?
Controversy's Devil boy
Well, this is not the first time that Parrikar has stoked the fire of dissension. Be it political or personal, he always seems to hit the headline for the wrong reasons. Here are a few instances:
Speaking at a public function on February 23, Parrikar had said, “What is a reporter’s salary...How much does a news reader earn? Maybe 25,000 (rupees). They are mostly graduates. They are not great thinkers...intellectuals. They write news how they understand it.”
"India is a Hindu nation in the cultural sense. A Catholic in Goa is also Hindu culturally because his practices don't match with Catholics in Brazil except in the religious aspect, a Goan Catholic's way of thinking and practice matches a Hindu's," he said in an interview.
"But Modi was new to the job as chief minister. It was a blot on Modi's career, but he was not personally a part of it. If he is guilty by connivance he should be punished. But investigations have given him a clean chit. People who oppose him do so because they fear him," Parrikar told a freelance journalist whose interview has been carried by New York Times.
"After all, you have to build deep assets. Deep assets are created over 20-30 years. Sadly, there were some Prime Ministers who compromised deep assets," he said.
Parrikar, while briefing industrialists, had reportedly said, "When an industrialist wants a permission, he has to face 16 inspectors, but a rape victim has to face only one inspector."
On other ocassions, he is quoted as saying:
Honesty without output is of no use. It's not that if you are honest then you can't deliver. A simple way of living honestly is not to take any decisions. When you take a decision, you have to pass through a path of thorns and nails. You have to avoid all those and take a clear, conscious decision in the interest of the nation.
I am uncomfortable in western outfits like suits. Compared to the previous defence minister, my dress is much better".