"Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru's reported affairs with many female colleagues were juicy gossip but it didn't spoil his political career. His relationship with Edwina Mountbatten is widely discussed. The entire world knew about it. Their affections continued till Pt. Nehru's last breath. Was it a sin?"
Senior Aam Aadmi Party leader Ashutosh came forward to back former minister in the Delhi government Sandeep Kumar, who was sacked from the cabinet after an alleged sex video of the minister surfaced, and said that there was nothing wrong if a man and a woman involved in a consensual act in a private space. On 31 August, Delhi Chief Minister and party convener Arvind Kejriwal, in a sudden move, sacked Sandeep after receiving an "objectionable" CD allegedly carrying details of some "wrongdoings". The decision to sack the minister was taken at a high-level meeting attended by top AAP leaders.
Coming to the sacked leader's aid, Ashutosh in an open letter, which was published in NDTV, questioned the rationale behind sacking the leader. "The question then is that if two consenting adults are physically involved with each other, is it a crime?"
The Sex Was Consensual, Private Act. TV editors are indulging in bigger stupidity - writes Ashutosh https://t.co/cS4NhOt2yS
— ashutosh (@ashutosh83B) September 2, 2016
Adding that the "act" was not coerced and was of a consensual nature, there was no "wrongdoing." The woman, Ashutosh wrote, "is not coerced" and she has not even complained to anyone after that. The woman did not file any official complaint with the police or the court. "Neither has the wife of the man expressed any divergent view on the conduct of the man."
Interestingly, Ashutosh's open letter is in clear contradiction of Kejriwal's stand on the issue.
"It's not rape," said Ashutosh. "Then why should this sex video be discussed at all? Why should it be made public? Why should it be linked to the character of the man and the party? Why should it create headlines? What wrong has the man done?"
Ashutosh wrote that the sacked minister can't openly flirt with the opposite sex or smoke in public but asserted that what a man or a woman do in their private space is their business. "...he or she should not be chased there."
"This video exposes the hypocrisy of the society and hollowness of the media. How the video has been treated on air by certain TV channels informs us about the bankruptcy of some editors occupying high positions in the media industry."
Giving examples of world leaders who have not made qualms about sex and relationship between a man and a woman, Ashutosh cited former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
Invoking Mahatma Gandhi, Ashutosh said that his relationship with Sarla Chaudhary, a distant relative of Rabindra Nath Tagore, had disturbed a lot of people, including his wife Kasturba, Nehru, C Rajagopalachari, but Gandhi never budged. In fact, in his later days, Gandhi "slept naked with his two nieces to experiment with celibacy," Ashutosh wrote.
Ashutosh cited examples of RM Lohia, who was in a live-in relationship; Atal Bihar Vajpayee, who never married but was in a relationship with his college friend and George Fernandes, who 'was married to Laila Kabir, but this was never a problem for his friendship with Jaya Jaitley."
Ashutosh also quoted Mao Je Dong's biographer Zhisui Li, who wrote: "Mao's sexual activity was not confined to women. The young males who served as his attendants were invariably handsome and strong and one of their responsibilities was to administer a nightly massage as an additional aid to sleep."
The senior AAP leader, at the end of the letter rues over there's nothing private anymore. "As a novice, I can only say that it is easy to trash AAP but difficult to point fingers at these gentlemen because they were very powerful people."