In the wake of the Aziz Ansari controversy the concept of consent is being brought up time and again. Did the lady consent to the actions that were perpetrated? Was it assault or simply a date gone wrong? Consent is a seemingly simply concept – no means no – but yet we return to just what it involved, verbally and in ways unspoken, more so now in the wake of the #MeToo movement. While many have condemned the lady that spoke up about her experience with Ansari, with comments on social media along the lines of her being a willing participant, having gone on the date, undressed and performed certain acts herself. Others have come out questioning the very nature of dating and male attitudes, contemplated the behavioural cues and exact terminology that implies consent, or lack there of, also encompasses but many seem to shrug off – “If she was uncomfortable, why didn’t she just push him off and leave his house?”
In india the conversation around consent is pretty problematic in itself. One person saying yes to one thing does not mean they have agreed to everything that is to follow. But is this terrain really this murky?
Instead of teaching women how to avoid rape, we should be teaching men not to rape - it sounds like a simple enough task, in theory, but implementing it in India seems to be a lot more difficult. Starting a much-needed discussion on consent, Agents of Ishq’s video ‘The Amorous Adventures of Megha and Shakku In The Valley Of Consent’ brings us a traditional Marathi lavni with a twist. We’re introduced to witty, risqué and vibrant Megha and Shakku bai who through an entertaining and humorous song-and-dance address the important topic of consent in this zany music video. With a mix of Marathi and English, the two of them take us on a saucy adventure as we’re made to contemplate the complex nature of desire and sensing the ‘Point of Consent.’
There is an increasing advocacy of what is being called a ‘consent culture’ in recent times, and rightly so, as the prevailing narrative of sex isn’t exactly based on mutual consent to physical relations. In India, where any conversation related to sex is immediately shut down, consent, while remaining an essential topic, is rarely discussed, while violence against women remains prevalent as we hear horror stories from across the country. Consent culture, which has its own tensions and apprehensions, aims to change people’s mindset to address male behaviour and responsibility instead of instructing women how to ‘avoid rape.’
The Mumbai high court held the position that if a woman is educated and above the age of 18, and agrees to a physical relationship, she later cannot allege rape. While the circumstances of the case in question are debatable, what seems to be clear is the notion of shame and responsibility that’s attributed to women in our society, while the same standards should be held for men.
“It’s not hard cash, that I can put it in your hand!” says Shakku. “These things have to be sensed!” “What if I feel neither yes, nor no, but something in between? What to say then?” asks Megha, addressing a very important factor to consider when we discuss the nuances of consent. A platform for discussion of topics rarely addressed in India is created here by Megha and Shakku Bai as they drive the point home through a traditional form, we’ve posted the lavni about consent courtesy Agents of Ishq, a must-watch for everyone. As the agents themselves put it best, “there was never a sexier, more confident, more desi discussion of consent!”
If you enjoyed this article we suggest you read: