As a train approaches any important railway station in India, the surreal display of ‘secret ads’ is noted. Bold fonts mark the painted signboards imploring ‘sufferers’ to seek solutions to their deep, dark secrets. The message is simple – Gupt rogi, sharmayen nahi, mile laakhon ko jivan aur shakti dene waale . . . – but the impact, and by its consequence the implications, are disastrous. Used tactfully here is the tremendous impact of advertising to touch one of the most vital facets of human insecurity.
Beneath the façade, however, lies the untold suffering that millions of Indians undergo. It has been estimated that more than 10 million Indians suffer from a form of sexually transmitted disease, including about 5.3 million who suffer from AIDS. If the number of those who suffer or have suffered a form of sexual debility at any time during their lifetime is added, it becomes astronomically dangerous. Fearing societal norms, where virility and potency are considered more as signs of manhood, the solutions that millions seek is then from quacks who have their publicity campaigns in
With qualified medical professionals (dealing with such problems) concentrated in cities, the ground becomes more than dangerous. Dr. Ajay Srivastava from Ghosi Primary health centre (Jehanabad, Bihar) seconds the opinion, “The malaise is horrifying. Millions of Indians, including several in rural India, suffer from sexual debility most of which is psychological in origin. The solution they seek is unfortunately not from qualified medical professionals but from dangerous neem hakims who are quacks in disguise”.
Official intervention therefore becomes mandatory in stopping such quackery and phoney advertisements. Solutions should be sought for problems closer to the mind for millions than ‘in between the legs’.