By Eli M
I read the headlines on 11-12-13, regarding the criminalization of homosexuality. I couldn’t understand how a group of people can decide about the legality of a human orientation. The colonial, archaic and un-natural law in the form of section 377 of IPC must go. There should be no second thoughts to that. But before people brand the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) as un-natural and sinful, let us first understand the cause and genesis of this sexual orientation.
Homosexuality is not a choice but a series of genetic alignment and also hormonal balances which occur rarely but within the realm of nature world. For those who argue that it is un-natural, let us first understand that not only did it exist among humans but even among animals and birds as well. For greater intimacy within the pride, the lion used to have same-sex intercourse. Other animals and birds such as dogs, penguins and swan exhibit homosexual relations. Moreover, when it is in one’s own nature to be a homosexual, then the question of it being un-natural doesn’t arise and simply because we fail to understand it, doesn’t mean it is un-natural. Our ignorance of biology and sexology doesn’t mean we are correct.
Also, another argument is that the society will never accept. It is true that the society, especially our Khasi society considers it a taboo, and Christianity considers it a sin. But let us also be aware that we cannot go by the sentiments of society and populism. The society used to condoned child marriage, sati, Incest, and many social vices in the past which, thankfully, are being categorized as illegal. Society adapts itself with the passage of time and it should also adapt to the issue of homosexuality Interestingly, if one goes by the past events then Hindu society is tolerant towards homosexuality as depicted in Ajanta and Ellora cave murals. But it is the present society which is not tolerant towards this community of sexual minority.
It is very sad in for the world’s largest democracy to travel back to the 1860s and have lunch with Lord Macaulay. The derogatory and unscientific remarks of Baba Ramdev, the majoritarian comments of Subramanian Swami and the hatred spewed by a large sections of the netizens only shows how intolerant we are. We are living in the 21st century where freedom and personal liberty is a topic of the day. It only befits India to follow suit. But no we won’t. We don’t care. We are still cocoonised within our own retrograde and negative world view. We still think that the world behaves the way we want it to be. But we are wrong. There are things out there that diminish our understanding and our knowledge. It is not for us to denounce them, but we must be able to appreciate the differences and live together. I shudder to even think about the direction we are heading and this issue of section 377 is a prime example of how we use the law to relish our indifference and intolerance. Who will speak up for them? They don’t form a vote bank to make political parties serious about their concerns. Except for the INC whose leaders had come out strongly against the verdict, the rest are being non- committal. Even the two judges who passed the ruling used the euphemism of the law to roll the ball into the legislature. At a time when judicial activism is at its peak, the supreme court washed its hand and it does not want to be associated with a controversial ruling against the sentiments of the majority. This is where Indian democracy gets interesting, where you have an apex court deciding by populism against the spirit of the Constitution. You have political parties who are concerned more with the vision of a sage and the quackeries of some religious fanatics that they turn a blind eye towards the plight of a minority group. But most importantly, you have a Supreme Court wording which shows its indifference when it ridicules the LGBT community and says they are only a fraction of the population and that the positive ruling for them cannot given. But what the two honorable justices fail to understand or deliberately did so is that it is not the numbers that count but the freedom of an individual. Gay rights couldn’t and shouldn’t be decided by a referendum. They are not special rights but equal rights. It is interesting to note that the two religious communities who play the minority card all the time are extracting the maximum benefits by themselves being anti-minority.
And for all the religious fanatics out there with no respect for science, nature and individual rights, let me tell you that it is not only the Holy Scripture that counts. Somewhere behind your prophets’ life, you will find a paedophile who kills children and you will also find those who commit adultery and polygamy and genocide. So please don’t tell the LGBT community how to behave. Have a retrospection and then clean your own house first. Somewhere as we are talking, people are having gay sex and it doesn’t harm you in any way. Why should you concern yourself about what people do in the privacy of their bedrooms? I am least bothered about that. I am more concerned with the rise of right wing politicians and the venom spewing of religious leaders. That should bother us, at least.
I understand that your Scriptures are against homosexuality but let me tell you that none of their writers write down the Constitution. And when the Constitution gives the citizens their rights, none should take it away.