Indian app fights porn addiction with devotional songs and political speeches

Indian neurologists have developed an app to address porn addiction that will play Hindu devotional songs, chant “Allahu Akbar” or recite speeches by Nelson Mandela when a user tries to access adult videos.

The app was developed by Vijay Nath Mishra, a professor of neurology at Banaras Hindu University, in response to behaviour problems he was seeing in his patients.

It currently plays Hindu chants and prayers when users try to access adult or violent material, but Mishra said he aimed to widen its appeal as much as possible.

“Within a month it will contain songs and prayers suited to the Muslim community, so that it could be comfortably used by members of all religions,” he said.

Also to be added are inspirational speeches from figures including Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and the Bengali poet and Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.

“Addiction to pornography cannot be treated but this is a humble attempt at changing one’s behaviour,” Mishra said.

The app has been named Har Har Mahadev, a Hindu chant exhorting Lord Shiva to destroy all evil.

The website Pornhub says Indians make up its third largest user base behind Americans and Britons. According to 2014 data, Indian users who access porn are more likely to be female than the global average.

The Indian government tried to ban 857 porn websites in a sudden move in 2015 but was forced to back down less than a week later after a massive backlash and concerns the censorship may be illegal.

Sunny Leone, a Canadian porn star of Indian origin, leveraged her online popularity in 2012 to make the leap into Bollywood, where she has attained mainstream success despite opposition including a 2015 lawsuit alleging she was “destroying Indian culture”. She retired from the porn industry in 2013.

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