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A Small-Town 'Sexy Video' Seller Tells Us About the Porn Habits of His Indian Village

'Hanuman Chalisa' acts as a code word, and women send their kids with chits detailing what they want.

by Zeyad Masroor Khan
14 November 2018, 2:00am

From printing certificates to help farmers get subsidies to supplying porn, Kumar's is a one-stop shop to fulfil many needs.

In a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah District, Surinder Kumar’s shop is the last in a row in a newly-built market. Young boys and old men wait for their turn at the adjacent barber shop, while burqa-clad women wait with sick children at the clinic of a doctor on the other side.

Not as busy as others, Kumar’s tiny, sparsely furnished place is a one-stop shop to print caste certificates for college admissions, certificates that will allow farmers to get subsidies, train ticket bookings, and photographs. But for many in the village, Kumar is simply the guy who sells "sexy films."


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Running his shop in a conservative Muslim-dominated village, Kumar loads people’s memory cards with the genre of porn they prefer—from lesbian porn to desi MMS clips—all downloaded from Bangbros, Pornhub, XVideos and Naughty America. His price points help his business run better: Rs 20 ($0.27 USD) for 2GB, Rs 30 ($0.41 USD) for 4GB and Rs 40 ($0.55 USD) for 8GB worth of porn in a village with negligible internet facilities. His is the only such shop in the village—his rival shut shop a few months ago.

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In Kumar’s experience, the crowd is extremely ageist in its attitude towards porn. “Almost everyone, however young or old they may be, is interested in films featuring young girls. Nayi ladki hi chahiye buddho ko bhi,” Kumar says, casually telling me that he can spend the whole day chatting with me as he gets no more than 10 customers a day. “Boys load it on their smartphones, while older men request me to show them sex scenes behind full parda.”

Full parda is village slang for HD resolution, much in demand among his clients. Nobody likes low resolution videos anymore. “Older men often beg to me: Main kaafi din se pareshan hoon (I am stressed since some days). In such cases, he teaches them how to pause the film in case a rare customer walks in midway, and then leaves them alone in the shop for some time.

Not everyone is as direct about their needs, though. Watching ‘sexy films’ is still considered a "sin" in the village, and if discovered, it can bring disrepute to the entire family. This has led to code words, some vague even for Kumar. “Some of them just say: Hanuman Chalisa daal de.”

The other code word is slightly tougher to decipher. It’s wohi or bohi (that’ in English), a term which can mean anything depending on the way it’s spoken. “Once a farmer asked me for wohi and I loaded the best porn on his memory card. The next day, he came back and clarified that he meant religious songs. He had spent the previous night awake just in case his grandchildren used his phone.”

Things are not as easy for the women in the village. “Some send their kids with chits of what content they want. I laugh and tell them to send the ones who want it,” says Kumar, who is hesitant about handing over porn to children. “There was another shop where many women used to go. But it has now shut down.”

The most frequently sought-after porn type at Kumar’s shop are high resolution videos featuring Indian girls, though there are some dedicated fans of videos featuring foreigners too. “Earlier, people just wanted porn. Nowadays, they want their type of videos. A few ask for videos in which a girl makes love to a girl but some blatantly ask for forced sex videos. Videos featuring sex with animals are increasing in popularity too. A guy got a new Jio connection and tried finding animal sex on the internet, but would just find photos. I taught him how to find animal sex videos." Kumar doesn't believe in judging people's preferences, giving them what they want and trying his best to dig out stuff he might not already have.

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The film which has the most repeated demand among his clientele is one in which a woman sexually dominates a burglar who has tried to break into her home. “Bahut chor hain is area mein. (There are many thieves here).” But the video in question was accidentally deleted by an assistant, and Kumar has been trying to find it ever since.

The business is not without its perils as selling pornography is illegal in India, and you can be booked under section 67B of Information Technology act 2000 (publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form). Under this, you can be punished on first conviction with imprisonment which may extend to five years and with fine which may extend to 10 lakh rupees. “Once I had gone to a friend’s shop in Sirpura to get some new porn on my pendrive. A boy came with Rs 10 to buy a blue film. After he was gone, two cops in plainclothes came to his shop, put the guy and his computer in their jeep and sped away.” Kumar pretended to be a customer and got away.

The closest he has came to being busted was when his assistant accidentally copied the folder of sexy films on to the phone of a local cop in his area. “The lady cop wanted videos of songs and the porn folder was inside it.” The next day, the cop came back and requested Kumar to ‘check’ her chip. When Kumar began opening all the videos, a porn clip started playing. “I asked her why she was seeing such stuff and she told me, “You should ask your chela who gave me this.” Luckily, she just laughed and went her way.” Not many others are as lucky.

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Kumar earns around Rs 4,000 rupee a month from this shop, apart from some extra money from a tobacco business. After the arrival of Jio in his village, his business has suffered considerably as most have now learnt to watch videos on the phone and don't need to pay as much for data consumption either. “Now they just ask for the website address.”

Though Kumar comes from a Dalit Hindu family, his shop belongs to a local Muslim businessman. “I used to idle around when this man told me to start a business. I was worried as many people had told me to be wary of Muslims. But in the last six years of running the shop I have realised that it’s the politicians who create the divide and take advantage of it. Everyone, be it Hindu or Muslim, comes to my shop to get their porn. Rehna to yahin hai na, kahan jaoge? (We have to live together here. Where will you go?).”

Follow Zeyad Masroor Khan on Twitter .

This article originally appeared on VICE IN.