Mumbai: The fact that the only sex museum in the country run by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) had to pull down its shutters six years ago, under the pretext of being shifted to another venue, shows the authorities’ callous attitude when it comes to imparting sex education in the right manner.
Antarang, South Asia’s first sex health information art gallery, was inaugurated in 2002 in Kamathipura after a sudden surge in HIV/Aids cases in the city. It was shut down in 2007.
It became popular among prostitutes and some of their clients after health workers began taking them there.
“It didn’t see a lot of mainstream visitors as not many wanted to come to a red light district. Including students, around 450 people came to Antarang every month,” said a health department official.
The museum had depictions of ancient folk stories and sculptures with verses from the Kamasutra, meant to play an important role in sex education and spreading awareness about sexually transmitted diseases.
Wooden and plastic models on display explained human anatomy, while another section was on pregnancy-related changes in the female body.
Now, all this material and the sculptures is stacked up at the Acworth Municipal Hospital for Leprosy in Wadala, where they lie in shambles.
Mumbai District Aids Control Society, an NGO, had been looking after the museum. A civic official said, “The building housing the museum was dilapidated and leaked during monsoon, damaging the sculptures. It was handed over to a private developer for redevelopment.”
Once redeveloped, the BMC plans to reopen it either in the same building or at the leprosy hospital. “Around 3,000sqft is to be allotted to the upgraded museum, which will have audio-visual and animated information on HIV,” said an engineer from city engineering department. BMC claims it’s in the process of getting approvals for the new and improved museum.