So acceptable is sex between close relatives in India that uncle-niece and cross-cousin marriages were preferred among certain Indian groups.(100) As the old Indian proverb has it, "For a girl to be a virgin at ten years old, she must have neither brothers nor cousin nor father." These sleeping patterns with relatives who live in common residences continue even after marriage, since husbands are often cold to wives, and sex with the husband's younger brother is covertly encouraged by the family to give the wife someone to be "close" to.(101) Grandfathers often call the little girls "my little wife," give them candy and "play the role of an old seducer," teasing them by saying "Don't you want to marry me?"(102) One observer stuns up traditional Indian sexual stimulation during childhood as follows: "The little Hindu girls are deflowered by the little boys with whom they play, and repeat together the erotic lessons which their parents have unwittingly taught them on account of the general promiscuity of family life throughout India. In all the little girls of less than ten years of age the complete hymen is wanting.. Incest is often the rule rather than the exception."(103)
In addition to direct incest by parents, the seduction of little girls who are taken in as wards or servants is quite common. Many older men, Rampal reports, "get down to seducing young girls whom they give protection at home for any reason - education, service, relationship, close friendship with father or brother. [They] take full advantage of the girl's innocence and her lack of experience in dealing with men who desire them sexually. The girls generally regret such relationships because of [the] extreme dualism of calling their secret lovers as 'uncle' or 'brother' before others and indulging in coitus in the privacy of [the] bedroom..."(104) Fathers sometimes encourage the seduction by giving a daughter to a friend to be brought up "as his own daughter" so the friend "then initiates her to incestuous coitus."(105)
The sexual use of boys and girls goes back as far as records exist and includes all cases in India. As Mayo says, "For a period so long that none knows it beginning, the Brahmin has been intensively cultivating, and with priestly authority handing on, a passion for immature girl-children in sexual use." (106) Temple prostitution of both boys and girls has a long history, and Mayo reported in 1927 that "the little boy...is likely, if physically attractive, to be drafted for the satisfaction of grown men, or to be regularly attached to a temple, in the capacity of prostitute. Neither parent as a rule sees any harm in this, but is, rather, flattered that the son has been found pleasing."(107) Both priests and visitors used the boys and girls sexually, most of the children being "of good caste." One community of temple prostitutes numbered two hundred thousand members, according to government statistics.(108)
Child marriage has been the rule in India at least as far back as 300 B.C. The rationalization for child marriage - like that for extreme seclusion of girls, purdah(110) - is that it is necessary to protect the girl from the seductive males around her. Indian mothers of higher castes admit that they are "afraid to leave their daughters of [age eleven] at home, even for one afternoon, without a mother's eye and accessible to the men of the family. Far down the social scale the same anxiety is found. The Hindu peasant villager's wife will not leave her girl child at home alone for the space of an hour, being practically sure that, if she does so, the child will be ruined." (111) Therefore, the child has traditionally been married off as early as six or seven years of age.
While child marriages are consciously excused as defenses against seduction by males, they also, of course, carry out the seduction, since child marriages have generally been consummated right away and since the groom is almost always decades older than the child bride. As the Mahabharata says, "Let the man of thirty years wed a ten-year-old wife, a nagnika (one that has not yet menstruated), or let the man of twenty-one get one seven years old."(102) Since prior to the 1929 child Marriage Restraint Act most Indian girls were married and began sexual intercourse before age 12, they moved from familial incest to sex with older men chosen by the family while they were still children.(113)
Fathers who allowed their girls to reach puberty without being married were condemned by their religion to hell. Therefore, the first child usually was born shortly after the onset of puberty, almost always dying during childbirth because of the physical immaturity of the mother.(114) When attempts to outlaw child marriage were made in 1929, nine volumes of testimony were published by the Age of Consent Committee, most of them defending child marriage. The complaint was that it was the foundation of the Indian family, since "the girl-child must 'get herself disciplined' [raped] through actual consummation of marriage 'to look upon one individual...as her lord and husband..."(115)
Mayo said most of this committee testimony was too obscene to even repeat in its insistence on the necessity for child sex. The Committee was overwhelmed by those who insisted that the children were so oversexed that by the time they were seven years old that child marriage was their only salvation. "Little children, both boys and girls, they lament, naturally develop an unnatural, perverted and exhausting precocity, under the stimulus in which they are steeped" - that is, the family incest during the first seven years. Mayo reported numerous testimonies that blamed the little girls for their rape, claiming that early marriage was an absolute necessity, since "Cupid overtakes the hearts of girls... at an early age... . A girl's desire for sexual intercourse is eight times greater than that of males.. When there is appetite, it is the best time for giving food..."(116)
The result of this early incest was a society where adult sexuality was considered extremely dangerous, where people suffered agonies of guilt every time they engaged in sex with their spouses, where all sexual intercourse between men and women was considered polluting and where popular movies still frequently need detailed rape scenes to satisfy the male audience. (117) As might be expected, Indian religion has been permeated by perverse sexual fantasies, worship of the penis and extreme fears of loss of semen, including the worship of an incestuous penis-god, Siva - where women were expected to kiss in public the genitals of naked priests. Even today in cults such as the Hindu Sakti sect incest is advocated as "a higher grade of sexual intercourse and an advanced step toward religious perfection."(118)
The Indian subcontinent provides a veritable Galapagos of psychohistorical variations of incestuous behavior, providing examples of a wide range of evolutionary stages that can be useful in comparative historical studies of other societies. In some endogamous Indian groups, such as the Baiga, actual incestuous marriage is practiced between men and their daughters, between women and their sons, between siblings, and even between grandparents and their grandchildren. (118) "My impression is that most of them have little or no innate repulsion towards incest," Says Elwin, their ethnographer, (120) the viability of their society disproving by itself all theories about the impossibility of incestuous marriage.
Variations on the fully incestuous life style of the Baiga are numerous, and regular sexual intercourse during childhood is widespread in many Indian groups. One of the best documented is the Muria, who make their young children a part of their sexual activities in the family bed. Then, when their children are five or six years old, the parents claim they are getting too old to continue to take part in family sex, so they send them to a dormitory set up by the adults for the sexual use of the children by adolescents and older men.(121) The Muria claim it is the children's fault they have to be removed from their homes and sent to the sex dormitory:
"Some children are very good and understand [why they have to be banished from the family bed], but others are stupid and insist on crowding into the parents' room..." The adults supervise and encourage all the sexual activities that take place in the dormitories. Although at times children as little as two years of age are taken to sleep in the dormitories, they are usually not required to be part of the sex activities until 5 or 6, since if they are made to have sex at 3 or 4 they often "wet their beds [and] wake up crying."(122)
When being introduced into the sex dormitory, the children are made to fag for others and are "hammered into shape" by the adolescents in charge. The young children start their sexual activities by massaging the older children, and are only then "initiated" into actual intercourse. Intercourse begins at age 5 or 6, initiated by an adolescent or adult: "A big girl teaches a little boy by letting him fondle her breasts and hug her. Then she opens and spreads her legs and makes the little boy lie on her breasts. She shows him how to open her clothes and insert the little penis with his hand."(123)
There are two types of dormitories: the classic model, where girls cannot sleep with a partner for more than three days at a time, under threat of punishment; and the "yoking" model, where partners are "married" to each other
Next Thread |
Previous Thread |
Next Message |