In March 2018, a Malayalam magazine sparked a nationwide debate. It showed a model breast feeding, on its cover page. The intention behind it was to normalize “breast feeding” in our society. The motto was to accept and respect this natural act. The heading of the cover was Mother’s telling Kerala, “please don’t stare, we need to breast feed”. But this turned out to be a huge cry on social media. Cases after cases had been filed calling the picture obscene. They alleged that the image turned out to be a sexual offence. The cover photograph could awake sexual desire.   See the source image

The courts decision

Kerala HC stepped in putting all allegation to rest and refused to accept the magazine’s cover as obscene. A two-judge bench comprising former Chief Justice of the court Antony Dominic and Justice Dama Seshadri Naidu further noted that shocking one’s morals is an elusive concept, and that one man’s vulgarity is another man’s lyric. The court looked at the picture with the same eyes as we look at the paintings of artists like Raja Ravi Varma. The bench stated that the beauty lies in the beholder’s eye, so does obscenity, perhaps.

The court also stated that throughout their long history, the arts of India—both visual and literary—have consistently celebrated the beauty of the human body, notes the much-acclaimed travel-writer, William Dalrymple.

Indeed, the whole tradition of yoga, was aimed at perfecting and transforming the body. With a view, among the higher adepts, to making it transcendent, omniscient, even god-like. The body is not some tainted appendage to be whipped into submission, but potentially the vehicle of divinity. The sensuous and the sacred are not opposed in the tradition. They are one and the sensuous is seen as an integral part of the sacred. The gods were always depicted as super-humanly beautiful. If the image was not beautiful then the deities could not be persuaded to inhabit the statue. We could not express better than what Dalrymple has said in his lyrical prose. Kama Sutra—the Aphorisms of Love composed by Vatsyayana many millennia ago, is the first scientific treatise in the world on eroticism

People chained to past…

We cannot, as a nation—people of all shades of faith and belief afford to chain ourselves to the past.It doesn’t matter’s how glorious it have been. That glory in fact, was a change and almost an abomination for those living then. Only from the prism of the present, hat past appears to be glorious. Who knows what we detest now, as our ancestors did then. As decadence may be its very glory, viewed from a distant tomorrow. No nation desiring progress could afford to have its people chained to the past. Even water stagnant stinks, flowing fascinates. As Steven Pinker observes, “cultural memory pacifies the past, leaving us with pale souvenirs whose bloody origins have been bleached away.”

This comes as a huge relief for Grihalakshmi magazine. As they were caught in the eye of storm after it had published the photo of a ‘breastfeeding mother’ as its cover in the March edition.

“I was not at all bothered about the controversy, I knew about the case through media and in fact nothing came up to me,” Jilu Joseph told India Today.
As said by Samya Saxena, a legal historian that the whole idea that this actually is something we have never seen in history before it, is completely false. We have got the whole history of Khajurao temple where we have depicted woman.We have depicted all sorts of sexual activities as well. She also said that for anybody who can sexualize the act of a child drinking milk from his/ her mother, is really someone so pervert.It’s something they should be concerned about & they are the real pervert who are destroying our society.

The hypocrite society

Still now breast feeding in public is considered as taboo. As per the statistic, it says India ranks among the lowest in the world in terms of providing infrastructure for women to freely breast feed.

Breast feeding is now considered as a sexual act by our society. A newly mother is just nurturing her infant. It is one of the most beautiful things in the world, which our community has categorized as a vulgar act. The problem in our society is that a woman has no right to open about her sexuality. Whether its lipstick under my burkha, menstrual cycle or motherhood. Today we are objecting to motherhood. When a women doesn’t wants a child or she wants to feed her children by artificial tools,Then also the society raises question. Now a days the scenario of women in our society is changing. We see the women are working equally like man, whether in office, business or profession. What should woman do? Leave her work or not have a child?

 

Reference links:

  1. https://thewire.in/women/magazine-cover-of-a-woman-breastfeeding-not-obscene-kerala-hc
  2. http://www.livelaw.in/one-mans-vulgarity-is-other-mans-lyric-kerala-hc-refuses-to-declare-breastfeeding-woman-on-magazines-cover-as-obscene/
  3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/kochi/breastfeeding-woman-on-magazines-cover-hc-dismisses-obscenity-charge/articleshow/64685504.cms
  4. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/kerala-high-court-on-plea-against-breastfeeding-woman-on-magazine-cover-as-the-beauty-lies-in-the-beholders-eye-so-does-obscenity-5227571/