Navratri is a Hindu festival of nine nights where devotees worship nine avatars of Goddess Durga. The festival ends with Dussehra (Vijayadashmi) on 10th day which marks as celebration of Lord Rama’s victory over Ravana – the symbol of victory of good over evil. Yes, Navratri festival has religious and social values attached to it.
Recently, a condom brand started its promotional campaign around Navratri featuring actress and celebrity , Sunny Leone (as above) that read –
‘Aa Navratri a ramo, parantu premthi’ – Play but with love, this Navratri.
This campaign has sparked protests and criticism from certain section of society blaming the ad to malign the purity of Navratri festival by linking it to a condom brand promotion.
“The insinuation on the hoardings from a condom brand insults the religious sentiments of Hindus. This cannot be tolerated and our protests will get stronger if these hoardings are not removed immediately. Protests are necessary to deter others from trying something similar again in future,” said Mr. Narendra Chaudhary, businessman and president of Hindu Yuva Vahini.
Now let us take a moment and logically analyze this situation. Is there any intention of insult to the festival or religion itself?
The campaign by the condom company simply takes advantage of the premise that there is a rise in sexual activity in Gujarat during this festival, especially among youth. And the numbers support this narrative.
As per the reports and statistics of last many years, the sale of condoms and contraceptives increases by 20-30% in Gujarat during the period of Navratri.
As per the doctors’ observation, the sexual activity touches its peak in the Navratri month. Female pregnancies and abortions are also an alarming trend in the city during that period.
The festival and the sentiment behind it has nothing to do with sex but that is what the reality is, that the festival has become excuse and gives a warranted freedom to people to temporarily come out of their shells and satiate themselves.
The protest just points out the hypocrisy, wants to ignore the real situation and misconstrues the purpose of supporting the use of contraception. If people are going to have sex anyway, they might as well have safe sex, make safe choices for themselves and their partners and rule out chances of mishaps, unplanned pregnancies and STDs/STIs.
PS: It is not about supporting any particular condom brand or the celebrity.
PSS: It is about promoting safe sex, any day, anytime.