Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New law makes blocking adult websites harder

The Times of India notes that the Indian government has relinquished its power to block websites over obscenity.
In a little-noticed fallout of the recent amendment to the Information Technology (IT) Act 2000, the government has given up the power to block pornographic websites purely on the ground of obscenity. Sites like Savita Bhabi, in other words, can no longer be banished from the virtual world merely because they don't conform to a babu's subjective moral view. Now, the courts alone can block such sites.

This is because Section 69A, which came into effect on October 27, 2009 has raised the bar for the executive power to block porn websites. The government can still block such websites, but only if they create a "public order" problem -- an unlikely probability. Savita Bhabi, for instance, can hardly start a riot.
So does this mean the official Savita Bhabhi site will no longer be blocked by Indian ISPs? The Times article doesn't say exactly. But this change in law is a positive step.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Savita Bhabhi discusses birth control on Indian TV

The site may be blocked, but Savita Bhabhi remains a cultural icon in India. She recently appeared on the Jay Hind TV variety show (played by an actress) to deliver some comedic advice about birth control.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Shohini Ghosh, communications professor at the National Islamic University in New Delhi, looks at the Savita Bhabhi censorship affair. The article has some cool info on Savita Bhabhi's roots in Indian classical and popular culture. But it gets way too bogged down in academic jargon -- "pleasures mobilised", "dissident spectator", "a phantasmatic arena", blah blah blah.

With her long, dark hair and voluptuous body, Savita Bhabi invokes the sensual female protagonists of popular calendar art and the children’s comic books series Amar Chitra Katha, with stories from history and mythology. Predominantly Hindu in its theme and iconography, these comic books feature stories of goddesses, queens, princesses and wives whose sexualised bodies are restrained by their monogamous, dutiful and moral dispositions. Savita Bhabi has inherited the body and discarded the temperament.

That Savita is referred to as ‘bhabi’ is no less ironic. Idealised as a maternal figure to the devar (the husband’s younger brother), the bhabi has also been the object (and subject) of erotic desire. Literature and films in India are replete with references to the desired and desiring sister-in-law. This theme finds powerful expression in Satyajit Ray’s widely acclaimed film Charulata (The Lonely Wife, 1964). While researching for the film in Santiniketan (the film being adapted from a story by Rabindranath Tagore), Ray found references to Tagore’s own relationship to his sister-in-law. Sooraj R Barjatya’s 1991 Bombay blockbuster Hum Aapke Hain Koun?! also places the figure of the bhabi within this tension.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

New episode of Savita Bhabhi

Like I said, Savita Bhabhi is not dead! The Indian government may still be trying to block access to the site, but the site itself is alive and kicking.

And they're publishing a new episode in August!

Savita Bhabhi episode 14: Sexpress

The first page went up on August 10, and they've been adding a new page everyday.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Savita Bhabhi is not dead

Several news sources have run stories about the supposed "death of India's cartoon porn star". Don't believe the hype -- Savita Bhabhi is not dead!

The journalists may have been confused by the announcement by Savita Bhabhi creator Puneet Agarwal that he was shutting down his "Save Savita Bhabhi!" campaign. But the site SavitaBhabhi.com is still active. It published a new comic on July 1, weeks after the Indian government started blocking local access to the site.

They have even announced that they're looking for new scriptwriters. Does this mean Puneet Agarwal has left the creative team? We can't tell, but we hope not. But it does indicate that they plan to publish new episodes in the future.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Porn in India, it's not just Savita Bhabhi

Many of the news stories about Savita Bhabhi noted that India has a large domestic porn industry. As a free-thinking, cosmopolitan westerner eager to see cute women of all races naked, this made me happy. Why don't we see more of this Indian porn?

Here's one good source of galleries and links:

Daze Reader reviews: Porn from India

(Warning: that site has actual adult content, not just talk about adult content.)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Censorship of Savita Bhabhi

The government of India wants to block its country's netizens from viewing Savita Bhabhi, the sexy online comic book. WTF? And here's the crazy part -- they're claiming it is a national security issue.
With her ample bosom, skimpy sari and mischievous grin, Savita Bhabhi, India’s first and only online cartoon porn star, might not look like a threat to national security. But the country’s Government has made the fictional housewife seductress the first target of new laws, passed after last year’s terror attacks on Mumbai, that allow the authorities to block dangerous websites.

For those in the corridors of power, however, Savita’s promiscuity was no laughing matter. Last month the Government ordered internet service providers to block the site. To do so it evoked section 67 of the Information Technology Act. The law allows the Government to ban websites that threaten “the sovereignty or integrity of India, defence and security of the state” or that endanger “friendly relations with foreign states”.

Campaigners for Savita’s reinstatement hope to use India’s freedom-of-information laws to uncover who demanded that the site be blacklisted.

Others have sought solace in the failure of other countries to police the web. The columnist Venkatesan Vembu said: “The government ban is about as impotent as Savita Bhabhi’s workaholic, sexually clueless husband, and as her growing legion of fans has discovered, there are ways of getting around the ban by using proxy, anonymiser websites that cover your tracks.”

Censorship stinks, and this case is truly ridiculous. Sexy humor is not terrorism!