Less than one week ago, the Indian government moved to ban Internet porn, declaring 857 websites “immoral and indecent.” Today, the government has reneged on its censorship, unblocking nearly all of the sites that are not child pornography.

The ban was lifted following a strong public backlash, with many arguing that there are bigger, more urgent problems that need to be addressed, such as the country’s recent issues with sexual violence.

With the unsuccessful ban, India seems to have tried using pornography as the scapegoat for greater social ills. In a May New York Times op-ed, New Delhi journalist Kai Friese considers American porn star-turned-Bollywood actress Sunny Leone as the embodiment of the country’s paradoxical “combination of prurient prudishness and genuine tolerance.” Fans want to see her sexually suggestive films, but they also want her to remain an anomaly, existing only on screen. India isn’t really a prudish place, but there remains a distinct difference between the culture portrayed by its entertainment industry and the culture in the streets.

The impressive thing about the backlash against the ban was how many activists seemed to agree on this fundamental idea.

Notably, the ban put no protections in place for people working in pornography, meaning it wasn’t about abuse so much as it was about temptation. The temptation is back.

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