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Infidelity in the West and in India

December 10, 2009

The media in America is going beserk over Tiger Woods’ infidelity. Jokes, videos, news reports and blog posts are flying around faster than you can blink. The Indian media has jumped in too, and India’s leading English daily, the Times of India, is reporting the news on the front page! It doesn’t take much imagination to come to the conclusion that our Indian media would not get this hyper if the news had been about the extra-marital affair of some revered Indian sports star. Sure, there was a scandal about Mohammed Azharuddin some years ago, but his reputation had already suffered because of allegations of match-fixing. Most of the time our media seems to give us the impression that our sports stars all lead divine lives!

Which is quite impossible because infidelity is as old as the hills. Poor, rich or middle class, infidelity has always existed amongst all kinds of people. Rich people might get more opportunities and they can afford to keep several women too. That is probably why in most societies (including Indian),”… Kings, landlords, rich men and merchants had many wives, just as today rich and corrupt politicians have many mistresses some even bear them children.” I have heard some fairly lurid stories about some top Indian businessmen and ofcourse, actors. However, when it comes to actors, the Indian media does report it freely, like they did in the case of Aamir Khan. The story died down quickly though, apparently because Aamir denied it. Amitabh Bachchan’s affair was Rekha was also reported by film magazines (not the mainstream media) but then slowly the reports died down. Amitabh has gone on to BBC’s Hard Talk and firmly denied the affair.

Music maestro Ravi Shankar’s string of affairs with different women while attached to one is well known and he hasn’t denied it. Why should he, when it surfaced once it was all over, when he was old and well past his prime, the women long gone? Can one really believe that no one knew of his infidelity? Why, self muzzling of the press happened even in the case of  Tiger Woods. His promiscuous behavior was known to some people, some of them from the fourth estate, but it was kept under wraps. Maybe money was exchanged, maybe it was pressure or because Tigers are more good to them alive rather than dead! It was only when he had his famous accident that it attracted every kind of journalist and became a widely reported scandal. If it was an Indian sports star, it would have quickly died out and denials would have come thick and fast. In a day or two the story would have died.

Denials can obfuscate the truth when hypocrisy and prudery rule. It’s some sort of pretend game that people play, pretending that sex doesn’t exist. It’s not as if sex scandals can ruin careers. Not in India. It may hurt their personal life perhaps, but it’s doubtful that any politician’s career will suffer if an extra-marital liaison comes to light. The voting public in India  vote even for people with murder cases against them so I think an affair would pale in comparison.

In any case, it’s all covered up. One hears of politicians’ romps with prostitutes and bar girls, hidden mistresses and the like, but no names are ever given out. Stories about Tarannum’s (night dancer) trysts with well known people have surfaced, but while some names were given out, others were swept under the carpet, particularly that of  the “dapper son of a prominent Maharashtra politician…”

Prominent personalities in Europe who are caught red-handed do not usually deny their infidelity, and even when they admit it, it doesn’t ruin their career. It’s a little different in America and Britain, and public knowledge of  their infidelity has given sleepless nights to some, from America’s Bill Clinton and Eliot Spitzer to Britain’s John Profumo and John Major. The media is quite merciless though, unlike in India. Denials fall on deaf ears. Careers do get stalled and even end, although according to a Wall Street Journal article, new winds may be blowing in the US, with infidelity influencing voters much less than before:

Though adultery was, and still is perhaps for a minority of voters, an automatic disqualification for political office, the fact is that the moral rules by which American politicians are judged are complex and changing…

The article goes on to say that politicians who admit their transgressions and ask for forgiveness are more likely to be able to resurrect themselves.

In India we are a long way away off from people, particularly politicians, from owning up. In any case, the media helps them keep things under wraps. This gives them impunity and the freedom to live the way they want in private while continuing to lecture others.

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78 Comments leave one →
  1. December 10, 2009 1:58 pm

    Indian Press is easily bribed. If Tiger Woods gave them money to print otherwise, they’d do that in a second. There are hardly people these days who actually know the real point of press.Its hard to believe were times when people had to struggle just to start a newspaper to spread their ideas.
    And I can’t blame them. I am guilty of reading the HT City supplement before the main newspaper.
    “This gives them impunity and the freedom to live the way they want in private while continuing to lecture others.” reminded me of a story our Sanskrit teacher told us in class 10. Once a woman came to Gandhiji with her son asking him to tell the boy that eating too much gud(jaggery) isn’t good for health. Gandhiji said – “not now. i’ll tell him later”. He kept sending her back for 4-5 times after which he finally said it to the boy. When asked why did he take so long for saying such a small thing, he replied “because until yesterday i was addicted too, how i can preach something i don’t follow in my own life”…I hope there were more people who thought like that.

  2. December 10, 2009 2:09 pm

    I don’t think Indians really care about their leaders’ extramarital affairs…Neither do Europeans (didn’t Mitterand have a mistress while he was President?)…It’s always been there and always will…I’ve always wondered why Americans give it so much mileage – it’s not as if it’s alien to their culture…

    Tiger Woods is a great golfer and I’m a big fan of his…I don’t see how and why his personal problems should be any concern of ours…

    As for the media, they’ll latch on to anything that will give them readers…

  3. December 10, 2009 2:17 pm

    Tiger Woods has been duly punished by everyone, media, sponsors, bloggers, tweeters and not to forget his wife, Erin.. But did we forget, she did have a legitimate right, but what about others; it’s easy to make fun of transgressions, but can anyone even dare emulate his successes?? His stature, focus, skill set??

    What could have been a private husband-wife spat, ending in whatever (compensation/divorce); is now a circus, forgetting about the future of the people (Tiger/Erin) involved!!

    Tiger Woods is trending topic in Twitter; what about COP15? It only proves what constructive brains we have!!

    • December 10, 2009 8:00 pm

      oh dont forget the example of “chetan blocks” as a trending topic!! :D It was pure madness!

  4. December 10, 2009 2:37 pm

    Enough of Tiger Woods and his alleged infidelities already! I live a few miles away from the Woods housing community. With all the media hogging the road, it’s difficult to commute. This is a huge price you pay as a celebrity here in US. You are no longer entitled for a private life. It’s a mockery and stories are blowing out of proportion! Media is extending their claws to make more money. After all, pathetically, gossips sells much more than intellectual reads. Sadly.

    • December 10, 2009 8:51 pm

      Kiran said everything I had in mind. :) After living in the US for a while, I got celebrity nausea that hasn’t yet gone away.

      • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
        June 25, 2010 5:56 am

        Mahendra,

        Just noticed your comment. I am amazed! You mean to say in all the years you lived in India (unless you didn’t) you never felt nauseated by Bollywood stars, cricket stars, ramp stars and other similar gobs of shit?

        • Vivek's Friend permalink
          January 18, 2012 12:29 am

          Lol!
          It’s easier to get nauseated in the US I believe, what with the ultra-clean surroundings and all.

  5. Vinod permalink
    December 10, 2009 3:01 pm

    Tiger who?

    • December 10, 2009 3:38 pm

      :lol: :lol:

    • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
      December 10, 2009 4:03 pm

      Vinod,

      Until last week I thought Tiger Woods was the name of some fancy, upmarket golf course somewhere in the US.

      Well, at least I got the game and the country right ;)

      • Vinod permalink
        December 11, 2009 9:16 am

        Vivek, if I had my way I would ban that game. It’s a huge drain and burden on water, forest and land resources. And don’t even start me off on whether it’s a sport at all!

        • Vivek Khadpekar permalink
          December 11, 2009 1:58 pm

          Vinod,

          Your language is too mild. While I more than totally agree with you, expressing such opinions will only earn us expletives such as “eco-terrorists” or worse.

          And while you do mention forests you should specially emphasise the damage caused to genetic and species diversity.

          Vivek

  6. December 10, 2009 3:10 pm

    @Vinod..lol..now, how about that?

  7. December 10, 2009 5:45 pm

    As you said, adultery/ infidelity has been existing since forever.
    I have this somewhat amusing story to relate: Apparently, in the days of old, a lot of rich, married Parsi men carried on their little “peccadilloes” on the side with maids. The children thus born began to be called ‘Seth na’ or ‘of the boss’. Thus was coined the Parsi surname – Sethna! Now am not sure how true this is, but that’s the way the story goes! :)

  8. December 10, 2009 6:04 pm

    Frankly it does not matter to any one as to who is involved with who.
    Anyone who reaches the status Woods-Amitabh-Clinton-Major-Our Politicians(all kinds) have achieved, they are bound to be in public eye and they fall in the “desired”list.
    I am not too sure about the media in the US or in Europe,but media in India can easily be “managed”, for and against both.
    There is also a saying- WOH RAJA HI KYA JISKI KUCH KAHANI NA HO.

  9. December 10, 2009 6:44 pm

    A sex scandal is always the toast of the town and with power n money can be hushed in India anyday. But my problem is why do always the ideal/perfect sportsman/actors/politicians mostly have a big fall after years of being the model… is it a sudden fallout with the media?

    And journalism these days in the newspapers or channels have taken a toll….Sometimes I wonder whether they create news for higher TRPs and sales!

  10. December 10, 2009 7:02 pm

    I guess these cheesy stories about who is going out with whom is just a way to sell their channel/paper/magazine. I guess everyone is interested in reading it as well. When there are people following it, they would be still printing/airing it.

    I read it too, because some days TOI have only such stories.

  11. December 10, 2009 7:46 pm

    Well I read somewhere(to be more precise in a book on sexual evolution) that the number of women a man had was linked to his power(not sure which civilization it was)..the book went on and explained the (supposed) factors, which lead to this…

    Anyway I don’t see the reason why men and women can’t have affairs outside their marriage, isn’t that (hmm…hmm…) their choice?

    • December 11, 2009 9:33 am

      Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart has it that the more the number of wives, the more powerful n wealthy the man…. (Yup, one needs money to keep so many wives, happy or not is another question)

    • Vinod permalink
      December 11, 2009 10:30 am

      Anthropologists see a strong correlation between the difference in size between the male and female of a species and the number of partners that the male has. The larger the male as compared to a female in a species the larger his harem. Hence, mild adultery is going to be the norm in human societies. Interestingly, a larger female has no impact on number of male partners. Females boringly stick to one!

  12. December 10, 2009 8:49 pm

    I find a lot of Indians believe infidelity is a western thing, and that is why they have a higher divorce rate. Glad you mentioned that Indians – sports-people and political leaders are no different. And have never been.

    And I do agree with some of the comments, this should have been a private, husband-wife spat, but media can never resist a free story.

    • mint permalink
      November 13, 2011 4:59 am

      That’s completely skewed. I think the film industry in India have fed the people with the idea that western women are all ‘harlots’. But its a type of media racism.

      As a westerner I can assure you Indians have at least 100 times more infidelities than the entire western world put together. And that’s not a joke. I don’t recall barely knowing a single woman in India whoms husband was not running around elsewhere. And if they were not, they were looking to. Infidelities in India are so huge. This is why India has the second highest Aids rate in the world too; its related to constant switching of partners.

      I have lived long enough in many countries to be able to compare. Asia, Middle East and South America have by far the highest infidelities I have ever seen.

  13. December 10, 2009 9:22 pm

    yeahrightitsme, thanks for that comment! You have articulated what was in my mind. I agree with every word you said.

    sraboneyghose, your comment about Tiger made me ponder, and I think many commentators would agree with you. But somehow I am different, maybe I am in the minority. But if I find out that a person is not leading a moral life I lose my respect for that person. I used to be a great fan of Aamir Khan and I know he is a good actor even today but somehow he has lost all his charm to me. One of the reasons I admire Shah Rukh Khan is because I think he has a clean image. For me at least a person’s personal life matters. For eg, I used to be a big fan of Michael Jackson too, but though I still enjoy his music the awe I felt for him is gone. You see we don’t just admire the work, we also admire the person. Its all interconnected, at least for me.

    rush.me, Kiran, Mahendra, I guess this whole thing has been hyped beyond what anyone can bear! However I think it is the price for celebrity. I don’t feel sorry for Tiger at all. After reading the comments I feel maybe I should, but I just don’t! I don’t think of him as a victim. I think of his wife as a victim. His wife and two kids. This publicity must be awful for them. For their sake the media should shut up!

    Urvashi, I guess these stories might have a grain of truth, who knows! :) My aunt tells me that during her time all men had a keep or two, the richer they were the more they had! It was the done thing and well, the wives didn’t mind. Even today this practice is common, though in the cities it is not done openly. Its frequent in semi rural areas.

    BK Chowla, one day I would like to get to the bottom of this. How the politicians control the media, with names!

    Pins N Ashes, that’s a good point. I think however that the media abroad are always digging for dirt and if they find it, they splash it. In India it you keep the media happy they are more than ready to oblige you too.

    Xylene, yeah thats true all of us are guilty. Me too.

    Vishesh, sure its their business but if they are public figures then the public has a right to know. Then the public can decide whether they still want that person as a role model.

    Reema, the chetan blocks thing has gone over my head. I missed it.

    IHM, ask any 80 year old in India and they will tell you that “keeps” were a common thing in Indian society. Today they are less socially acceptable but they exist. The only difference as far as I know is that in the west it being an indivicual society there is less tolerance for infidelity on the part of the spouse. In fact in India there is far more tolerance for infidelity than in the west.

    • rags permalink
      December 10, 2009 10:37 pm

      Tolerance of the infidelity of a man you mean… Any woman with multiple sexual partners will automatically be named a slut in India. In the West women seem to respect themselves, therefore the divorces after an affair.

      yes ofcourse, the tolerance only of a man’s infidelity. If a woman is suspected she will be thrown out of the house! In fact men will throw out the woman even without any evidence, even if they suspect! I have read cases where men have murdered their wives because of this! – Nita

      • shani permalink
        May 10, 2010 5:29 am

        Yep, you nailed that on the head. At least in the West, women have
        the choice to leave or not.

      • mint permalink
        November 13, 2011 5:05 am

        The majority of women in the west will not tolerate an unfaithful man. Its a sign of deceit, of lies and a dishonest nature. People want to trust the person they live with 100%.
        Even a lot of men are very dedicated to being quite faithful in the west even with all the temptations around them – compared to India where I came across very very few men not looking to cheat, or already cheating. I remember one poor wife was so angry and humiliated by her husbands constant cheating, she almost went crazy.

        In the west, like in India, women do far less cheating than the men. But it does exist. And I think it is increasing in the past decade. Women are simply becoming fed-up.

  14. Dev permalink
    December 10, 2009 9:34 pm

    I didnt know that the Tiger Woods saga is talked about so much in Indian media too. Because it has already become a joke here that how media here has gone berserk in over reporting and over sensationalizing this issue. For a week, everyone followed it and then all started poking fun at Woods, his wife Erin, the media and so on. I’m not even following the case anymore.
    I’m still not sure why Woods had to suddenly start admitting his affairs one by one. Was he closed in by all quarters (especially the fourth estate) that it was better to admit soon than to be exposed mercilessly by the media or he had some sort of ‘honesty’ breakout from within all of a sudden? And then his offering millions of dollars to Erin to stay for 2 years with him!! What a circus it has become..
    Regarding infidelity and extra marital relationships outside the marriage, from my own observations and knowledge I would still imagine that they are more prevalent here than they must be in India. Not to say that they dont happen in India, and it’s especially not true for rich and famous in India, but still the incidence is less I would assume. Also, here people accept it easily and the general public is also much more lenient when it comes to celebrities’ affairs.
    I had once attended a symposium on what the world will be like in next fifty years. One of the prominent speakers on futuristic studies said that things like infidelity and extra marital affairs will be passe soon. Because the world will become so transparent and each of our moves so accessible (it’s already happening to an extent with tools such as facebook, twitter and high tech phones), that it will be impossible to lie about our affairs. Sooner than later, everybody will be caught. So, according to that speaker, the only option in such a world will be to be open about our affairs . :)

    • December 10, 2009 9:44 pm

      Dev, thanks for that perspective from Canada. I guess even there people are fed up. Here its not so much but even the little there is, is irritating because Tiger Woods has little relevance to our lives here.
      About infidelity, it is a myth that it is more common in the west. In one of the links I gave the writer asked a question. What exactly is infidellity? If the wife does not object, is it infidelity? The truth is that in India. wives, specially traditional ones keep quiet. Today in the rural areas all the rich men will have several women, its the done thing and its okay with the wives. Infidelity is also rife amongst the poor. Perhaps the middle classes have it less, but one is not sure because in India everything happens under the veil of secrecy. However there is more divorce because of infidelity in the west.

      • December 11, 2009 2:31 pm

        @Dev, Nita and anybody interested

        There’s a Canadian discussion here on the same topic, Tiger Woods’ infidelity. It is so interesting to see how different cultures see the same problem:

        http://neilmckentyweblog2.wordpress.com/2009/12/10/should-we-leave-tiger-woods-alone/

      • mint permalink
        November 13, 2011 4:51 am

        In the west divorce generally have one of three reasons:

        1. Monetary problems leading to tension
        2. Growing apart (emotionally)
        3. Infidelity (overwhelmingly caused by men)

        In the west it is common that people will simply not accept infidelity because it is linked to deceit, and no one wants to share their life with someone who is deceitful.

        However, I have to add that I was surprised that the marriages that hold together are far higher than one would think! The media constantly gives such odd reports you’d think not a single person stays together!! But the marriage rate that survives is actually pretty high. And in more conservative countries (which a northern westerner would not really consider west) like Italy and Spain, have a divorce rate lower than most Asian countries, including India.

        So which countries top the divorce rate per 1000 persons?

        Gibraltar 5.57
        Aruba 4.99
        Russia 4.42
        Isle of man 4.36
        Moldova 4.14
        Puerto Rico 3.67
        Ukraine 3.66

        So media creates a lot of hype.

  15. rags permalink
    December 10, 2009 10:45 pm

    The whole thing is blown out of proportion. Let Woods wife sue him or divorce him, who cares? The Indian media is acting like a group of badly behaved clowns with TOI as ring master.

    Hey, about Shahrukh, I don’t think his image is that clean what with all the gay rumours with KJohar.

    rags, those are rumours only. Nothing has been proved. In fact I personally never believe rumours about anyone. – Nita

  16. December 11, 2009 1:36 am

    Nita, you told Dev: “One is not sure because in India everything happens under the veil of secrecy.”

    I’d like to understand what kind of secrecy are you referring to. We have a lot of secrecy behaviours in those parts of our country that were under Arabic rule in the middle ages. We do all there, but in TOTAL secret.

    And in the US they have their own way of keeping secrets too, via some hypocrisy – I say it with empathy, I like America, and their hypocrisy is not always negative, providing a strong social frame etc. – the surface or social appearance must be correct to them: they have invented the ‘politically correct’ after all.

    Sometimes they are freer than us, other times more strict, truth being in the East they are puritanical, in the West wild (everybody sleeps with everybody), and in parts of the mid West and of the South there are Christian fundamentalists that beat you up if you don’t go to church.

    Clinton behaved badly, ok. But the way he was put on trial before the entire world was … bizarre at least.

    Really a New World from many points of views lol.

    • December 11, 2009 7:41 am

      Man of Roma, yeah I too agree that the way some of the US leaders are treated after their adultery has elements of hypocrisy. Far too much is made of it. About the secrecy in India, I mean that sexual matters are not talked about. When it comes to premarital or extramarital sex these things are all kept a secret, and people will never admit it, even if discovered. It becomes something very shameful for them to do so. Doing it is not shameful, but admitting it is! When it comes to sexual matters, India is in the middle ages. The British middle ages.

      • December 11, 2009 2:13 pm

        The British middle ages!! Ah ah ah, I loved that. I wonder if this secrecy as for sex matters regards both the men and the women.
        Here, in those parts of my countries I have mentioned, where some patriarchy still rules, secrecy is for the women only, while the men tend to boast their extramarital affairs with other men, sometimes other women.
        Virtue for the woman is fidelity, for man infidelity. With the Muslims of northern Africa it is the same.
        It has been like that since thousands of years, since the times of the ancient Romans, this patriarchy.

        Julius Caesar had slept with the wives of many of his friends (and enemies, of course,) even with the wife of Pompeus, to whom he was about to give his daughter as a wife!

        The sexual power of a man is very appreciated even today. The myth of the Latin lover is hard to die. And our prime minister Berlusconi boasts (in public!) that he is a superman in bed. He is part of an outdated mentality (such speeches are disliked by many,) and yet … Oh this is so different from Great Britain or the US.

    • Lakshmi permalink
      December 11, 2009 3:44 pm

      The American prudery when it comes to people in office is weird. But things are different in Europe. Nobody cares about the private lives of politicians. They are free to have partners as they will just like anyone else – at least it is so in Scandinavia.

      I strongly disagree with the Indian notion that in the west ‘everyone sleeps with everyone’. That’s not true. What free sex means is that there is no secrecy and people are free to take on sexual partners. But it is not acceptable to cheat on your partner (if you have a steady partner). So the norm is that people break up honestly before they move on. I think this freedom is important, for it is adults who are involved. And India is not any ‘cleaner’ just because we are prudish.

      And it’s not just sex that is secret in India. Just about everything is. For example falling in love is not an experience that is acceptable or credible in traditional Indian societies. And young people have to hide this most beautiful of experiences, and often have to pay a price for it. A heart break when love goes wrong can be a very painful and traumatic experience. And having a family and a society that do not accept this or frown on this can add to the trauma.

      • December 12, 2009 4:30 am

        What free sex means is that there is no secrecy and people are free to take on sexual partners. But it is not acceptable to cheat on your partner (if you have a steady partner). So the norm is that people break up honestly before they move on.

        Lakshmi, given the content of letters written to various love relationship columns in the US newspapers/magazines, I’d say that you are being very charitable with your characterization, and are indulging in (positive) stereotyping. :)

        And I’m sorry, but people in the US (and likely elsewhere too) indulge in all kinds of stupid and immature behaviors precisely because it is tough to “break up honestly” and people don’t have the courage to honestly talk with their partner about such issues. Why do you think psychiatrists/psychotherapists in the US do such brisk business?

      • mint permalink
        November 13, 2011 5:12 am

        Lakshmi, you are very accurate. Cheating is not tolerated in the west between partners. But our society completely accepts you to do what you want with your life, if you are single and available. It means you can get involved in a relation with someone else who is single, and people think nothing bad of it. But if you are married and cheat, people lose respect for you. They may not tell you upfront, but they do lose a lot of respect for someone who cheats.

        Amit. your comment is so poorly educated. The U.S. is not the entire western world anymore than all of Asia is India. The U.S. does have high infidelity but nothing compared with India. The only countries I have seen that match India in infidelities would be Venezuela, the Middle East, Africa.

  17. December 11, 2009 1:40 am

    PS

    I have simplified things a bit, of course.

  18. December 11, 2009 1:50 am

    The whole thing is blown out of proportion. What is the big deal? The way American media is going on and on about it makes this offense something unheard of. I wonder why Agassi’s admission to drug use didn’t become such a big deal and Woods is crucified unnecessarily. Don’t know if it has something to do with his race or there is more to it.

    About our stars and affairs, I think no one really cares how many times their favorite star marries as long as e projects this “intellectual” image. It is always the women who gets blamed. Even when in the case of infidelity among Indian stars, the blame is on the other woman not the man who took vows.

    Solilo, yeah I think the American media is certainly making a big deal of it, but when it comes to infidelity I think they usually do! Am not sure why myself. – Nita

  19. December 11, 2009 1:57 am

    Media in the west going “berserk” is not accurate, atleast not in USA. There is a clear separation of Paparazzi and mainstream media. It is just the gossip media that is going berserk, just as our ToI and HT are. Yes, the business dailies are showing some interest but that is more due to Tiger’s endorsements. One other reason this turned into such a big story is that the count (of alleged mistresses) is climbing each day and is currently in double digits. All from a guy who was a role model, Mr Clean and an all-time great in his profession.

    maald, it’s amazing isn’t it how people can have such a false public image! It’s the media which builds it up, and then it is the media which tears it down! Tiger Woods must have always been a womanizer but he was put there on a pedestal by the media. I think one has to be careful of one believes about public figures! – Nita

  20. Lakshmi permalink
    December 11, 2009 9:05 am

    Actually I felt that American media did not go gaga over the woods’ issue as much as they did with some other cases like Spitzer. May be I am not out there so much reading news these days.

    The press these days are looking for things to blow up. The discretion as to what is newsworthy has changed.

  21. December 11, 2009 9:08 am

    “The voting public in India vote even for people with murder cases against them so I think an affair would pale in comparison.”– very true!

  22. kanagu permalink
    December 11, 2009 3:55 pm

    I don’t know why it is blown out of proportion there… I think infidelity is quite common in west…. leave it.. but in India also its really common among the sportstars, politicians…

    its a curious thing that why people are so much interested in personal life of popular figures when they themselves struggling in their lives…

  23. December 11, 2009 9:26 pm

    Some times I think, one way in which powerful politicians, actors and other rich and famous get punished on the long run is due to the multiple partners!

    Its like this: Owning multiple cars is easy, but maintaining each of them regularly and the costs associated with it is some times very heavy! Of course, this analogy can also apply to cars :)

    Destination Infinity

  24. December 11, 2009 10:34 pm

    I don’t understand the thing that many people do infidelity yet when a well known person does that it becomes talk of the town…..it influences politics and what not. In idolizing celebs why do we forget they are human too?

  25. December 12, 2009 1:09 am

    Tiger Woods is a fantastic Golfer and most ppl who love sports will have high regard for him regardless of his personal life.History will judge him more as a champion golfer and not as a bad husband.

  26. neilmckentyweblog2 permalink
    December 12, 2009 1:15 am

    It is indeed remarkable how a European leader like Mitterand could have his mistress at public events. Whereas Clinton was impeached for having consensual sex with another adult and Tiger Woods is being pilloried for infidelity. Something askew here.

    • December 12, 2009 10:14 am

      Clinton wasn’t impeached for having consensual sex- he was impeached for lying about it and trying to cover it up. It’s not the “crime”, it’s the cover-up that comes back to bite in the tush, be it Clinton or Nixon.

      • December 12, 2009 5:24 pm

        Amit, Clinton was lying because he didn’t want to reveal his private sexual life. Nixon was lying because he didn’t want to reveal that he was illegally spying the democrats, his opponent. There is a big difference.
        Generally Europeans in my opinion don’t think infidelity in bed automatically translates into infidelity with voters, that’s all. While Americans tend to think so.

        • December 13, 2009 12:00 am

          Man of Roma, yes I know there’s a big difference between the acts of Nixon and Clinton. :)
          But the fact remains that Clinton was impeached by the House on the grounds of perjury, abuse of power and obstruction of justice, and not for having consensual sex (and acquitted by the Senate).

          • December 13, 2009 2:41 am

            From a strictly legal point of view I agree Amit. But it seems clear that the Repubblicans tried to corner Clinton on this thing.
            All was very politicised. In a puritanical ‘Scarlet letter’ (and hypocritical) hysteria 70 million dollars (!) were spent “in an investigation that substantiated no wrongdoing other than perjury and obstruction of justice”, this perjury – legally bad, ok – regarded after all not much more than: “I didn’t have sex with ….”.
            The difference between the two cases is also shown by this: Nixon had to resign, Clinton stayed. And that famous Starr report, c’mon, so unnecessaryly humiliating – I think Starr damaged himself more than Clinton after all.

          • December 13, 2009 2:43 am

            Amit, I added your blog to my reader. It’s full of interesting stuff. Ciao

            • December 14, 2009 12:16 am

              Man of Roma, thanks. Once I re-start updating my blog, I’ll return the favor. :)

  27. December 12, 2009 3:30 pm

    Indians are famous hypocrites when it comes to sex.our venerable Nehru/edvina, Gandhiji testing his abstinence with Mirah behn and Suchetha etc,Venerable Teacher Radhakrishnans affair in Rashtrapathi bhawan while bachelors boys like AtalVejpayee etc are not discussed openly in press as in west though Indian public will be more understanding than the US public opinion. Our corrupt guys flourish more and so are the ones with excess libido

  28. December 12, 2009 6:58 pm

    Hi Nita, you’ve been awarded!
    Do come over and pick up your award!

  29. December 12, 2009 10:16 pm

    If humans are the highest in the animal kingdom, but for humans, the rest of the kingdom is largely polygamous in nature.
    Sometimes I wonder if a child is taught abc = numeric and 123 = alphabets, then when they grow up their respective belief systems would be based on what they ve been taught rather than questioning what is the logically right option.Reality is thus or can be modified.
    Today we largely follow a Victorian code of conduct, which is in direct contradiction to what out ancient cultures experienced.

    I am not trying to defend infidelity here, but I do think these norms are man-made and man bound,
    History is replete with such examples….todays truth can become tomorrows myth.

    • Vinod permalink
      December 14, 2009 12:50 pm

      gyanban, humans too have been polygamous for the most part of human civilization. Monogamy is a modern day arrival.

    • Vinod permalink
      December 14, 2009 12:52 pm

      There is nothing inherently wrong with polygamy. I do not think it is superior to monogamy as a moral value. But for practical reasons, I am opposed to polygamy. There is way too much potential for injustice and abuse in it.

  30. December 12, 2009 11:13 pm

    Seems strange that they are making such a big issue of Tiger Woods’ infidelity. And why should it make so much news in India is amazing. We lap up anything to do with the West. Guess it makes interesting reading. But when one is in the public eye, and there is a lot to lose in terms of endorsements, one wonders why celebrities cannot be good or atleast be discreet.

  31. December 13, 2009 12:57 am

    Nita, I like the laissez-faire approach by Indian media/Indians to affairs. It shouldn’t be an issue unless it involves someone who is hypocritical (usually a politician, leader or a famous person) – that is, telling others it is immoral/wrong to have affairs, while having one her/himself. Talking about affairs or making a big deal about them – as is being done in the case of Tiger Woods – does not necessarily mean a sign of progressiveness, and neither does lack of outrage over affairs imply that it is regressive. From the many links you’ve provided above, it is clear that some like Ravi Shankar are quite honest about their dalliances and don’t hide them; and people have voted for someone like J. Jayalalitha, and Dharmendra’s marriage, while he still had a wife, to Hema Malini didn’t affect either one’s career or popularity.

  32. December 13, 2009 8:49 am

    I do not see why the media should NOT write stories about Tiger Woods and his shenanigans. Tiger Woods sells and how! As bad boy and good (endorsements). He is a whole economy by himself. PGA will suffer, golf and all its support industries will suffer, why even shaving cream companies will suffer millions and billions if the Tiger Woods brand is devalued by his actions.

    As such his story is deserving of media coverage and as the ultimate consumers we have the right to be both amused and entertained by stories of his peccadilios; just as much as we have the right to be informed of how the devaluing of his brandname will affect our own purchasing power. Any phenonmenon that affects my saving/purchasing capabilities must be investigated, giggled at, raged at or ultimately shelved for future reconsideration.

    In the US context, it follows that the brandname devaluing of politicians or other powerful people who behave badly, will affect my life in many ways.

    Indian or European sexual mores or definition of badboy behavior and brand devaluing is different. The corruptability of the press and also the profitability of the press in other countries is also a factor in what stories are newsworthy in economic terms. I am not going to compare what is acceptable and where. It is apples or oranges to guavas.

    Money decides everything ultimately in any country, in any era, even how many beds a man or woman can warm.

    Money also decides if it is acceptable for the aggrieved spouse to rage at the unfaithful one, golf club in hand or to accept the “transgression” in sati savitri fashion.

    Ultimately money defines a culture and its mores.

    Men and women have behaved badly everywhere, and in every era. Today, it affects me monetarily. Damn right, I am interested in the gory details.

  33. December 14, 2009 2:36 am

    That was such an interesting post. Yes, the rules of morality seems to be different in Britain and the US. For some reason, here in India, denials seem to be accepted much more easily, while Europe seems to be totally unaffected.

    It is interesting to see how something like infidelity seems to have different levels of importance in various parts of the world. We, Indians seem quite unaffected in comparison. Is it because we accept that a powerful, successsful person has got the liberty to do things differently?

    • mint permalink
      November 13, 2011 4:29 am

      I think India is such a promiscuous society with such extreme levels of infidelity, that it is quietly viewed as almost normal. Therefore it has less media attention. Gossip is massive, though, at all times. Of all my friends in the west, I actually only know one who has been unfaithful. And everyone lost their respect for that person. But if I compare it to the Indian circle, I almost have to think hard to find one who has not been unfaithful! And no one has any sense of wrong of being unfaithful in India.
      Indian men are terribly unfaithful… they remind me of Venezuelan men, who are quite similar in that regard. There is simply an impossibility for any female to marry a Venezuelan man and expect him to be faithful because they simply are not. And Indian men are very much the same.

  34. phantom permalink
    December 15, 2009 9:01 am

    The hollow, hypocritical, decadent and emotionally illogical mindset of the US media and public opinion never ceases to amaze me.

    Here we have a chap who’s a immensely rich elite athlete, a fit handsome man (handsome….arguably, but he’s fit alright), with un-matched public appeal and celebrity status. He would have had women throwing themselves at him !!! …just as ANY other rich, male celebrity (in any dimension – entertainment, sports, media, politics, business etc). AND….like ANY other rich male celebrity who has access to all these easy women, Tiger did what MOST men would have done.

    His affairs have NOTHING to do with his talent, skills and achievements as a golfer. His affairs also do not have anything to do with his moral fibre, as quite frankly, this is all strictly a matter between Tiger and his family. Are the American public absolutely daft, to think that Tiger has crossed the ph-so-horrible line of moral compass, and lowered himself into a deep, dark miserable chasm of moral despicability?? Are the Americans so stupidly blind and delusional, to think that this is the first pro athlete who has had some casual flings???

    A far as the moral argument goes – puhhleease….let us not judge the chap too harshly. There are plenty of far less wealthy and far less successful, and equally well married chaps worldwide, who decide to sample the wares from a different honey-cart. We have them in India in as many numbers and proportions as anywhere else. Should all those men be judged too???

    It speaks volumes about a society that can have such pious moral values for the public forum, but which are startlingly disparate from what’s being played on the ground. Is this symptomatic of a self-obsessed and bored society that needs something to launch its pent-up emotions at…or is this a media industry that is willing to jump into the pits of creative dysfunctionality in order to hype up what should have been left as a private matter.

  35. rags permalink
    December 15, 2009 11:40 am

    Funny thing, so many men seemed to think that if enough women are throwing themsleves at a man (for his riches, fame or whatever the reason), that man has to have casual flings with all of them. Whatever happened to restraint which differentiates humans from the animal kingdom… Why marry at all if casual flings is what these so called celibrities want?

    The latest technique is people deliberately (and wrongly I may add) using evolutionary psychology and anthroplogy to justify that men want nothing more than multiple partners to keep them happy saying its the way men are “wired” by genetics and there is nothing they can do about it. It sounds so silly and stupid that I can’t believe even for a mintue that they actually believe what they are saying. If polygamy is the done thing because animals do it and our ancestors did it then let’s quit living like civilised beings and go back to our caves because we’re all “wired” to live that way.

    • Vinod permalink
      December 15, 2009 12:37 pm

      Oh yes. The line between fact and morality gets blurred easily. But this is where I like to paraphrase Richard Dawkin – just because something is in our genes does not mean we have no choice. When we use condoms we are going against our genes! and we do that most of the time!

      • truthseeker permalink
        October 4, 2010 11:18 pm

        are you a fan of Dawkins?
        A terrible joke:”Should we, for example, follow the right-to-life lobby(The christians), which is wholly preoccupied with human life, and value the life of a human fetus with the faculties of a worm over the life of a thinking and feeling chimpanzee? What is the basis of this fence that we erect around Homo sapiens — even around a small piece of fetal tissue?”-joke by Richard Dawkins(1996 THE HUMANIST OF THE YEAR)
        i guess he is a fool even though the popular(and the so called progressive) belief is favoring his thought..
        Lover of Truth

  36. December 15, 2009 6:14 pm

    I was visiting one of the tribal places in orissa and I found it quite interesting that they did not take offence at people falling in love again. Divorces and re-marriages are very common. Since it is community living, children are taken care of by someone or the other. They seem to accept that you can fall in love again and there is nothing wrong about it, probably an occasion to celebrate.

    • truthseeker permalink
      October 4, 2010 11:24 pm

      then lets do that .. it sounds fun.. it sounds great..
      its sounds even progressive..!
      WOW!

  37. anu permalink
    December 23, 2009 2:38 pm

    There is over-the-top and then there is media. Agreed. But I don’t conform to the idea that Tiger is getting victimised here. He used to endorse several products using his image as a successful sportsman who was also a clean guy, and made millions with them. The guy wouldn’t have been able to get as much endorsements if people knew as much about him as they do now. He cheated the world using his spotless image when he was far from being spotless, and made quite some money that way.

  38. January 8, 2010 7:51 pm

    I am Brazilian, and here in Brazil for example, is variable in this respect. The majority population is largely Roman Catholic and then Protestant Christian.
    Protestants seek to live in a more respectful and social, in accordance with its precepts. THE adultery is not fought with any kind of law or punitive rigor.
    The rules of society make it clear that it is an activity reprovável.O adultery is an offense, of course, but when it occurs, is committed covertly, sometimes rapid, some offenders with maintains this link
    others for months or years.
    Let it be clear that adultery is not saldável not synonymous with status, quite the contrary! This brings a range of consequences, and worst of all: Everyone gets their due! Of course, what is legitimately cool and irrepreenssível, could not face the consequence of school life be it at that.
    My country is also a blessed nation, which has
    compatibilities with India, like, the people happy and receptive, some sections of the population quite religious, mystical, beautiful women … Two nations are in constant development and have much to show for the world and to God.
    And may God bless you all. I’m happy to comment on this blog.
    Armando Atila

  39. May 13, 2010 4:19 pm

    So what’s the big deal about Monogamy? Isn’t it a kind of wood used to make furniture and stuff … ?! Duh!

    ;-)

  40. mint permalink
    November 13, 2011 4:22 am

    I was involved in volunteer work in India for almost a decade. I can say with complete honesty that infidelity in India is over 100 times more than in the entire western world put together! They want to imagine it to being the opposite but it is absolutely not. India is an extremely promiscuous society, but like many old cultures everything is hidden. In the west things come to surface quicker and things of shame are often admitted by people while in India people will hide their activities. It was almost difficult to find an Indian man who didn’t have a hidden wife somewhere, out of wedlock children, or was not embarked on some extramarital affair. Infidelities, like in all countries I have been to, were lower with the women but it did exist and flourish quite well.

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