BP Singhal: “I don’t have any problem with homosexuals. Do you?”

Photo credit: Salman Usmani
Photo credit: Salman Usmani

Bharatendu Prakash Singhal, 78, is a Hindutva ideologue, a retired IPS officer and a former BJP Rajya Sabha MP. On a Sunday afternoon I visited him to discuss his opposition to the decriminalization of gay sex by the Delhi High Court. He is preparing to appeal against it in the Supreme Court. Singhal explained that he wasn’t opposed to private consensual sex between same-sex adults, he didn’t want such adults prosecuted or persecuted, but he merely wanted the law to remain on paper as a deterrent. This is the transcript of a recorded interview; a much shorter, edited version has appeared in Open.

So the judgement has not come in your favour.
What can you do when the judge does not even taken notice of what you have put forth as evidence? There is just one paragraph in connection with the averments made by us. There is massive propaganda from the other side, that they are being harassed under 377. In my 35 years in the IPS I saw not a single case registered under 377 and no case of police harassment.

If it is not used what’s the point in having it?
It is a paper tiger. It inhibits people from freely becoming homosexuals.

But what’s the point of having a law that is not to be implemented?
For implementation of any criminal law you need a complainant and a witness. Sodomy is being conducted in closed rooms and neither party will complain because it’s a mutual consent matter.

That is precisely what the High Court order applies to – consensual homosexual activity. What is the problem?
Now male-sex-male…

Or female with female?
No, we’re talking of male sex with male. 377 does not refer to lesbians or eunuchs.

Because it specifies that penetration has to take place.
Yes. They included eunuchs and all to give it the shape of a cause. This is fraud.

From your point of you only male-to-male is to be criminalised, lesbians are fine?
It is male-to-male that is causing all the harm. Lesbians only end up in suicide. Male-to-male breeds diseases. Female-to-female are harming themselves only. When lust takes over, men pick up boys, threaten them not to go to the police.

But if that’s been happening despite 377, so what good is the law?
It’s a paper tiger. 35 cases came to the courts in 140 years under IPC 377. It was not hurting anyone.

Another argument is that people who are gays feel that their desire, their very existence is being criminalised. Why? You don’t have to endorse it, but why do you to call it crime?
I have an urge to steal your motorcycle. Why should my desire be criminalised?

But in this case it’s consensual, it’s more like the lending of a motorcycle!
What about adultery – consenting adults? The whole question is that of morality in society, of social morals. That is the casualty.

The judgement recognises this, but quoting Ambedkar, it says laws cannot be governed by public morality. They are governed by Constitutional morality.
If the Constitution is lacking in enforcing public morality then there is something wrong with it or its interpretation. The Constitution prescribes not just fundamental rights but also duties. (Digs out his copy of the Constitution and reads.) Fundamental duties say, “Follow the noble ideas of our national struggle… to value and preserve the rich heritage of our composite culture!” In this comes our public morality!

The high court judgement quotes Nehru as saying we are a nation that is inclusive.
Then we should not bother about arresting dacoits either. We should be inclusive.

Isn’t there a problem in equating homosexuality with dacoity?
Why? Homosexuals have also been transcending the law. How can you differentiate between the violation of one law and another?

In this case they’re saying the law is wrong.
That’s what they think, but so long as the law was there they had no business in indulging in it, but they were.

That’s why they challenged the law in court.
But all this while they’ve been violating a law equal to theft and dacoity! They talk of consenting adults, why should gambling be an offence? Five-seven consenting adults playing, what is wrong with it? What’s wrong with Sati, as a devout wife if someone wants to commit it?

But the argument about Sati is that public pressure forces the widow into Sati.
That is murder. (Narrates an example of a woman in Sitapur prevented from committing Sati, and the husband’s body didn’t burn completely despite a lot of effort.) She was not being forced and yet committed Sati.

Do you want Sati legalised?
I think it should be anybody’s freedom just like you want the right to sodomy! What suits you is okay…

You mean if Sati is legalised you will support consenting homosexual activity?
No! Sati was a crime because people were forcing widows to sit on the pyre. That is murder, not Sati. The rich heritage of our composite culture has to be taken care of…

That is fundamental duties in the Constitution, can’t be legally enforced unlike fundamental rights.
It is not possible to prove a negative thing in court.

Talking of heritage, scholar named Devdutt Patnaik has written about the presence of homosexuality and a broad-minded view of gender in ancient times.
Nobody denies it. But there was nothing loose about the morals.

According to one story he quotes, Shiva bathes in the Yamuna and becomes a gopi just to be able to dance with Krishna.
So what? Where is the immorality about it? When no other man is permitted there Shiva converts!

He says according to one’s karma one could be born as a man with a woman’s heart ot vice-versa.
I can’t understand this. Let’s focus on 377.

I’m talking of culture and heritage. The UK Hindu Council’s general secretary Anil Bhanot has welcomed the judgement and has said that Hindu scriptures describe the homosexual condition as a biological one and although they give parents advice on how to avoid a homosexual child during insemination, they do not condemn such children as unnatural.
In Manusmriti punishment was described for homosexuality…

Mild punishment.
Punishment was punishment even if it was to stand in the sun for a few hours.

Certainly not ten years in jail.
Those were ancient times.

Queer rights activist Ashok Row Kavi wrote a letter to the then RSS chief KS Sudarshan when the film Fire was being attacked. He wrote in the letter that LGBT communities have always existed in India since he time of the Vedas and the Puranas, and says that Hindu mythlogy regonises ten different male genders alone. He said Hindu religion has been more sophisticated on the question of gender than Western culture. He says 377 comes from St. James’ Bible!
When Manu has prescribed a punishment ages ago, you can’t play fraud by saying it’s Victorian. Progress is defined by the spiritual evolution one gains on the planet. Progress is not measured in terms of money or physical pleasure.

There’s this book, Same Sex Love in India, which says same-sex love has flourished in India since ancient times.
Aberrations can’t be quoted as flourishing. There was a survey by Wikipedia in 2004 of 44 countries asking if they would like this to be an offence. 83% in India opposed it! So that is our culture.

But recently, on the eve of the pride parade in Delhi, a newspaper survey said 51% people have no problem with homosexuals.
Neither do I! I don’t have any problem with homosexuals. Do you? Homosexuality has existed since the beginning of time, doesn’t mean it’s a healthy thing. The Center of Disease Control in the US has done a study on how homosexuality breeds diseases. Besides it’s completely unnatural. The anus is designed only for exit of things. It is not for entry. Therefore the mucus membrane of the anus is soft and can be torn with the slightest of rough material. Whereas the vaginal mucus membrane is tough. If it was natural the anal mucus membrane would have been equally tough. Secondly, when a woman is desirous of sex, the entire vaginal canal is irrigated by a very slimy fluid to make coitus pleasurable and easy. No such lubrication takes place in the anus.

Why is why gays use lubricants.
Yeah! Artificial lubricants! They’re doing an artificial job! You can’t call it natural.

Okay may be it’s unnatural.
That is all that our fight is.

But lots of things are unnatural. Like we’re not born with clothes but we wear them.
Why is obscenity a crime? It provokes. A nude woman will provoke so many boys on the street. It hits our culture.

But if people are doing it in private?
They were doing it in private already, who was stopping them?

377’s fear, guilt, criminality, harassment by the police.
That is all bogus and imaginary. I asked them, please give examples. They said there were any number of cased but the only example they ever had was the Lucknow example. I will tell you what happened in Lucknow. When the police raided this place in Lucknow, they were boys and boys, and they were supposed to be doing HIV-AIDS work, teaching them condom and all that sort of thing. The recovery memo shows video cassettes, explicit sodomy taking place, provoking them. There were all things that were promoting homosexuality. No condom was found, it was a gay orgy.  (Tries to find the Lucknow memo in his papers, instead hands over an internet printout of something else.) See, in America they do detailed study, unlike India. Risky behaviour, promiscuity, low life-span… You can say what’s the problem if they are reducing their life span but they’re infecting others.

But WHO, UNAIDS have all welcomed the high court order…
Remember this, USA controls WHO and has millions of dollars at stake in promoting this.

This document that you have given me for instance, from nationalmorality.com, has a lot to say about the Bible and family values. Seems to be coming from Christian evangelist propaganda.
And what you have given me is coming from gay propaganda!

Unprotected sex can spread AIDS amongst gay and straight alike. The argument is that decriminalising homosexuality helps NGOs like Naz work with homosexuals on safe sex.
The Lucknow case is a classic case where they were caught red-handed. There was not a whiff of AIDS control. Only pornography. Why do they need it for AIDS control. They were running a brothel. Which is still an offence, you may remove 377 but running a brothel is still an offence.

Sir somebody who says he’s gay and desires sex only with a man, is not attracted to women. What will you say to such a person?
What will you say to a person who says he wants to have sex with only a dog. They will say this is absurd, there’s no connection. Why not? It’s a question of physical attraction too. The moment you start talking of love it’s disgusting! You can say it’s a question of lust and I want to satisfy it. That’s okay.

There is indeed lust, and there are people who want to satisfy it with only their own sex.

They have been having it.

But you are against it.
No, not at all!

So what are you against?
I am against that anything be done openly which promotes and provokes others to follow it.

But if anything is obscene it’s illegal anyway.
Did you see the kind of obscene actions they did during the parade here? Did the police take any action?

Yours is a nuanced position.
I feel homosexuality is a crime against humanity. You may punish it or not. That is why it carries a strong stigma in society.

But if you are against homosexuality then don’t you want the loopholes in 377 done away with and prosecutions to go up and reduce the incidence of homosexuality in society?
No! There are so many things the government has to do. This is something society has to take care of. That is why there’s a stigma about homosexuals. (In a TV studio) one of the activists told me sir, when I walk on the street people call me (pauses to think) the Hindi word for catamite. He said they abuse me. I said if you indulge in it why do you consider it an abuse. You should wear it as a title!

See also:
A previous encounter I had with Singhal: ‘Mahakaal ka ling kya hain?’

49 thoughts on “BP Singhal: “I don’t have any problem with homosexuals. Do you?””

  1. Jeebus! What a character!

    But then, if this is the kind of opposition that will be presenting itself in the Supreme Court to appeal, they don’t stand a chance, so I guess it’s all good.

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  2. I very well know this guy since i listened to all his arguments the other day in India TV discussion on the issue…like a pot full to its brim…you cannot pour any sense on to these kind of fundamentalists who have their heads full of only things that they want to believe..The argument where he compares homosexuality with dacoity is lame and stupid. And the double standard argument on Sati is another classic case of escapist nonsense. I have to congratulate you Shivam for all the patience you must have needed to put up with such idocy…..Actually it is good that he himself has accepted that there were no complaints of harassments registered under him in his career…just gives us an idea – how many people must have been denied justice simply because of his biased attitude…

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  3. I *love* “Yours is a nuanced position’! :-)

    (They should make the study of logic compulsory for the khaki chaddis. That way they’ll never make it out of their shakha schools and that can only be a good thing).

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  4. Singhal is crackpot. TV guys unnecessarily give him prominence.

    Your interview is wonderful. But I think Singhal, though close to VHP, is not even a Hindu. If I remember correctly, he is a Jain.

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  5. OMG this was hilarious and outrageous all at once. How does he understand what he says, even for himself? Moron of the highest order. And to think most people in the country think like him – being gay = having sex with an animal, it seems. Idiot.

    I second the comment above on how much patience you have to have had to do this interview without laughing or punching him in the face. :)

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  6. Mr Singhal unfortunately knows not what he does. What is right and what is wrong, can he state that in black and white. Is the bibal, geeta or which ever other text the final word then what about our own intellect. Will we ever grow and move on or will we always be stuck and refer to the great things of the past and glorious ages that India has lived through once upon a time. They were what they were because people used their brains, they were spontaneous, they responded to situations not reacted. I feel concerned and sorry for Mr Singhal. If 2 people out of a million are genius like lets say Einstein who would engage in things other could not or would, was he unnatural. Are numbers deciding what is normal. Oh Mr Singhal please educate yourself for your own sake at least.

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  7. Please post the audio that you might have recorded, if there is nothing off the record that was said..that would be hillarious!

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  8. Space Bar: When I said I found his position nuanced, I was serious. (Not that I was non-serious in anything else.)

    I think if you try to read an argument in his argument, and I agree that’s not easy :), he’s basically saying let them fuck but don’t make it legal; let there be homosexuality but no ‘homosexuals’, as in, they should be invisible as they are. This is not as contradictory as you may think, and he’s also made it clear that he’s not being “homophobic”.

    Apart from Baba Ramdev, who’s telling the Supreme Court that his asanas can ‘cure’ homosexuality, most opponents of the Delhi High Court order as saying exactly what Singhal is saying: let it be but let’s not acknowledge it; let’s not make it legal; let’s have the law articulate social disapproval; let them do it but let them know we don’t approve of it.

    This is not just about homosexuality per se but also sexuality in general: so you see him talk about adultery too. Sex must be controlled and regulated like the monetary policy.

    This position is best exemplified by this Bollywood number:

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  9. Awesome Shivam, I wish I could actually see him
    during this interview, and you too, the way u must have dealt with such crap.

    Keep up the good job…

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  10. Thanks for the explanation, Shivam. So Mr. Singhal wants to retain Section 377 as an indicator of society’s disapproval but not actually implement it. He’s actually not that far from the position of Father Dominic who wants to “decriminalize” but not “legalize” homosexuality. I guess the subtlety of this position is that Father Dominic is happy to have homosexuality not be treated as a crime but he does not want homosexuals to be given the right to marriage, to adopt children etc – privileges which are available to heterosexual couples.

    Assuming what you say is indeed Mr. Singhal’s position, I would say he has half-a-point. The problem that he is addressing is how does a society express its disapproval of “behaviour” which while “legal” is, in a certain moral sense, “immoral.” Whether we like it or not, a large swathe of our population — whether they form a majority or not, I don’t know — does not approve of homosexuality, though they might be willing to “tolerate” it. Given this, one can argue that society has a right to express “disapproval” while at the same “tolerating” the practice. Mr. Singhal, if I understand correctly, suggests retaining Section 377 but not implementing it as a solution to this problem. It is ingenious though I don’t see how you can have a law on the statutes and yet commit to never using it.

    Mr. Singhal, however, does have a severe problem expressing himself cogently. He came across as a blithering idiot. I hope Mr. Singhal thanks you – not that you need it – for doing his job.

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  11. Shivam: If sophistry is nuance then, sure – his position is a nuanced one.

    S. Gurumurthy, in the Indian Express, said pretty much the same thing: we know it exists; ‘Hinduism’ has never made it illegal; but since it’s not a desirable or model trait, it is given no attention so that society in general is not persuaded to be that.

    I’m afraid I see no nuance in any of these arguments; just bigotry and willful blindness.

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  12. what is interesting in the entire debate is the resurrection- by activist-scholars like ashok kavi, gita thadani and others- of the ancient hindu scriptures and myths, in order to show that homosexuality was not only present but also celebrated in those times and texts! i want to be cautious with these kinds of alignments, even though i understand the need, especially if you have to argue with people like mr. singhal. vandana shiva, for instance, in her privileging of the ‘indigenous’ over the ‘western, capitalist, industrial’, made alignments with the hindu right! my question is- how far can it take us and what is the price to pay?! i would rather evoke the western enlightenment principle of individual freedom and demand recognition.

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  13. All the comments above are supportive of the ‘Homo’ cause and against Mr. Singals position, whereas he takes a very lenient stance (towards gays). Can we conclude then that comments which are supportive of Singals stand are being filtered out by Kafila (which claims to run from the big media) and only pro homosexual thoughts are being shown. Does it have do do with the fact that some moderators/ owners of this portal are gay activists. Even if they are they should not shield the comments which appear contrary to their position because then they would be going against their philosophy of non biased media.

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  14. Subash: a) As it happens, we have published every single comment that has come in on the Singhal post.
    b) Yes, most of us on the kafila team are “gay activists” (although we prefer the term queer – at least abuse us for what we actually are) and have been long before you had even heard of Section 377, and will continue to be long after Section 377 has disappeared into the dustbin of history.
    c) We do run from the big media but have never had a “philosophy of non biased media” – we are biased and proud of it. Our bias is clear from our posts.
    d) Nevertheless we publish comments from a wide spectrum of views, as you should know, having been published often enough on kafila, even when you express views that to us, appear to be bereft of basic common sense.
    e) Glad to know that Singhal has a lenient stance towards homosexuals. We, for our part have a lenient stance towards heterosexuals in general, towards him, and to the likes of you, which is why you get to display your wisdom on our pages.

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  15. even when you express views that to us, appear to be bereft of basic common sense.
    – I am enlightened.

    we are biased and proud of it. Our bias is clear from our posts.
    – am relieved and happy for you.

    most of us on the kafila team are “gay activists”

    -now we all know.

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  16. Just an aside. While a lot is being said about Hindu tradition and homosexuality, one interesting snippet has not come up yet. We all know that Mohammed Ghanznavi had a lover – a man named Malik Ayaz, and as my friend Shuddhabrata put it the other day, the law against homosexuality was not enacted during some hundred years of ‘Muslim’ rule but during enlightened colonial rule. However, more important than the Ghaznavi-Ayaz love affair is the fact that none other than Allama Mohd Iqbal celebrated it in his well known ghazal “kabhi aye haqiqat-e-muntazar, nazar aa libaas-e-majaz mein.”
    The relevant sher – which many Hindi film enthusiasts may remember from Lata Mangeshkar’s melodious rendition goes thus:

    Na vo ishq mein raheen garmiyan
    Na vo husn mein raheen shokhiyaan
    Na vo Ghazanavi mein tarap rahee
    Na voh kham hai zulf-e-Ayaz mein.

    No more does love have that old passion
    Nor beauty its earlier playfulness;
    Not in Ghazanavi that longing,
    Nor that curl in the tresses of Ayaz

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  17. Subhash,

    is it so difficult to accept that most intelligent people indeed believe in gay rights and are in support of it. The reason most comments are in support is because most people are in support, no need to read in between.

    I hope we soon start seeing non support of gay rights as deviant unnatural behaviour…

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  18. i want to raise a different issue here- ‘the politics of raising issue’. i believe in identity politics… it is one weapon which the marginalized possess in order to shoot the arrows of protest from her/his own quiver! i believe that the foremost right of raising an issue should lie with the marginalized her/himself; the ones in solidarity or support have the responsibility of mobilizing public opinion but they cannot either claim leadership of the movement or behave in a manner which is detrimental to the movement. unfortunately, not many of our intellectuals and activists understand this! may be in their zeal of ‘feeling strongly’ about the cause or may be due to arrogance which this kind of engagement (intellectual) breeds in people, our activist- scholars sometimes go overboard! for instance, the way nivedita menon has dismissed subhash, smacks of arrogance. i have immense respect for nivedita and her writings and even in this post, her arguments are perfect. i appreciate her long association with the issue as both scholar and activist. but the way she has chosen to handle opposition is quite unfortunate!

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  19. Dear B.W.S,

    The identity politics debate is a tricky one – there is clearly a need for it but there are also many traps. Many of us in the LGBT movement deliberately sought to puncture the neat lines between L, G, B, and T and then between that set and “heterosexuals.” It was precisely because we wanted to fight identity politics and its restrictions that we started using queer. There were many reasons for this:

    1. If you believe in identity politics, then which one? as a gay, hindu, english speaking, urban man, why should my identity politics only be restricted to one of those identities?

    2. if all our identites are interrelated and embodied in the same person, our politics must also be the same. in other words, we all have sexuality, not just same-sex desiring peopel.

    3. if this is true, then I disagree with you that it is the right of marginalised people or those directly affected to raise issues. It, in fact, is a tragedy when only those affected speak for a cause. That is when democracy and politics fail [remember the lovely poem — when they came for the jews…]

    4. as LGBT activists, we were tired of being the only people, for example, who raised the question of lesbian suicides. women’s groups then told us that gay groups should raise the issue because it was about lesbians. but arent lesbians women? isnt suicide due to the fear of forced marriage a violence against women question?

    yes, identity politics play a part. but we have to think about overcoming them and critiquing them even as we use them. it comforts me to think of myself as a gay man – using that identity did give a lot to my sense of self. but i dont identify as a gay man.. i identify as lots of things and reducing me to my sexuality is worse than not recognising me at all.

    so, subhash, yes, we are gay rights activists on kafila. the thing you have to understand is that this has nothing to do with us actually being gay or not.

    – gautam

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  20. Dear BWS – not the first time I have been ticked off on kafila for too sharp a response, alas. Let me put it this way, I maintain infinite patience in my classrooms, and infinite patience in public meetings – somewhere, something has to give, and that somewhere happens, often, rightly or wrongly, to be kafila.
    In this particular instance, you have to understand that Subash was making a very serious charge, that we were filtering out responses that do not suit us, to present a false picture in which everyone who wrote in was pro- “the homo cause”. This was particularly galling because Subash has come in many many times before, on other posts, expressing views that are often directly critical of the posts, sometimes insinuating that we are anti-Indian, or that Indian Muslims are terrorists, and so on. And he has been published every single time. There was absolutely no justification for him to make that accusation.
    And then what does he say, again in his trademark insinuating style? “Does it have to do with the fact that some moderators/ owners of this portal are gay activists?”
    What would have been an appropriate response, according to you? A sharp disowning move – “No, no no, god forbid, we are not gay activists, those gay people are some weirdos out there, but we are in solidarity with them”?
    To identify with a movement is not to “take leadership” – no-one can do that, not with a movement as vibrant and powerful as the queer movement in India.
    How do you decide the separation, and who decides, between who is “part of the movement” and who is (merely) “in solidarity”? Dont you think self-identification with a political movement is to be taken seriously?

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  21. thank you for your response gautam. i am not saying that identities are not fluid or that a person should be reduced to only one identity. however, the need for any identity-based movement demands the projection of a singular identity, for obvious reasons. it is simple- 377 is, rather was, detrimental to homosexuals, and not to dalits (by virtue of their being dalits) or tribals or the disabled, etc. ur being hindu, english-speaking and urban does not matter as far is 377 is concerned- only ur being gay matters!
    secondly, i insist that those who are marginalized have the foremost right to raise the issue. the others have to support. the day people will understand this, the kind of arrogance that we see in the academia- activism today, will vanish for good!

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  22. i kept trying to think about identity politics and who should have the ‘right to raise’ an issue and so on, but kept getting distracted by an annoying thought. subash’s charge was that kafila moderators are unfair. their being gay or not was secondary in importance and only relevant in so far as it contributed to unfair moderation. like being a tyre puncturewallah can aggravate one’s being a muslim in gandhinagar. so who should have had the ‘right to raise’ here and who should have played the supportive role ?

    If we had gone by BWS doctrine – the moderators should have had the foremost right to speak up and basically everyone else should have played the supporting role. only your being moderator should matter here as far as subash’s comment is concerned. your being gay, lesbian, etc. has no purchase. so what is the problem here ?

    But the tropical sun does strange things to the mind. i kept wondering “is being a moderator comparable to being lesbian, gay, transgender, queer, hindu etc.? It doesnt seem to be a terribly fluid identity. One is either a moderator or one is not. I mean is there something like ‘coming out parade’ for moderators ?” are there moderatoricides happening somewhere ? moderators being discriminated against by the majority who are all commentors? or moderators fighting for the restoration of some obscure 1998 usenet thread where they believe their history began?

    Of course I have no idea. I am not a moderator of any blog at the moment. So I dont know how it feels. I hope someone will chip in with how it felt to have been a moderator all along and not having the courage to admit it, to have been marginalized….to have suffered in silence all the indignities hurled by blog posters and commenters who insist that posting and commenting is the natural order of the world.

    is nivedita’s response as moderator to subash opening up a rich vein of critical insight into identity politics or am i just addled ?

    i will think about it tomorrow.

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  23. Dear Bitch Whore Slut ( I don’t like using abbreviations for beautiful powerful words),

    One of my many personal problems with the LGBT community, to which I belong to the “L” category so to speak, is that not only are they ridiculous in some of their arguments for sexuality (such as equating “Indian Culture” with Hindu Culture or treating religion as the antonym to homosexuality), but also the way elites like you and me with our laptops uniformise the community.

    When I was a “newbie” – a gay baptism ceremony of sorts, I attended innumerable stupid parties. One of the many things that disturbed me was that my heterosexual friends were treated as the “other” in these rather elite gatherings of wannabe intense misunderstood figures. Isn’t that what we are fighting for even in identity politics? To be able to relate to each others experiences, empathise and speak in “solidarity” for each other, not because I’m a homosexual so only I have the right to talk about my community and the rest can just admire my “marginalisation.”

    And people like you and I are not marginalised if we get support from our family and friends and colleagues at the work place. My girlfriend is, who was thrashed by her family members ad some friends.

    So the rigid politics of identity you talk about seems to have become an “in” thing in obnoxious campuses like JNU where our identity actually has the reverse effect of glorification and consequently, “othering” our heterosexual friends.

    Talk to any Muslim in Gujarat, and they will tell you that Teesta Setalvald, a Hindu woman, means more to them than any Muslim MP in the Parliament who simply nods his head with the party line.

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  24. Nivedita,

    Funny how teachers like to imagine themselves to be patient in class as they throttle down their views like fascists on anything that is contrary to their stand. That said, this blog puts up as many and kinds of comments it can, unlike the classroom.

    I don’t agree with BWS contention at all. That’s a stance for exclusivity and inacesssibility, typical of the LGBT community in metros like Delhi and Bombay.

    Just like it is typicalfor academics to talk about radical feminism and “break the family” talk in classrooms after they dedicate their works to their parents.

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  25. Dear BWS,

    I empathise with your position and it seems so familiar because we have struggled with it so much ourselves – to talk intersectionality but then go out and protest with “gay rights” on our banners!

    but I will still disagree with you on the right to raise an issue. It just depends on what we define the “issue” as. I see the queer movement as one that takes on sexuality. Sec 377 is just one part of that movement — so yes, it impacts me most because I am gay [though as an elite, male queer person it impacts me far less than other kinds of queer people as well — lets not ever forget that].

    But if you see the judgment against section 377 it reads article 15 of the constitution. it is a radical, radical reading that says that no person can discriminate against another person. Not that state orgs or companies can’t — but that an individual person can’t. this is something that all movements can use. this judgment, as lawrence argued elsewhere on kafila, could be a constitutional breakthrough.

    we would never have gotten a ruling on article 15 if we didnt have an idea that 377 was about so much more than just gay people. we did not go the “equal rights” way that the LGBT movement in the west did, because in india, sexuality is a battle for everybody, not just for gay people. identity politics forgets that, so for me, its liabilities are greater than what it gives us.

    we, as gay people, would not have survived without broader support. actually, support is the wrong word, because people joined the movement thinking that 377 was about them, whether they were gay or not. that is something we can never value enough.

    when we did sessions on sexuality in college, the first people who understood us were young, single women. they would come to me and tell me that they knew what it felt like to have their sexuality marginalised, controlled and restricted. that connection is invaluable to me and it only comes when you leave identity politics behind.

    cheers, and thanks for your response,
    gautam

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  26. In my days in the university, some one had coined a quotation from confucius.

    it went like this

    ‘confucius, him say, too open a mind gets a lot of rubbish thrown in”

    reading the quotes of BPS made me understand the full import of that created cunfucius quotation.

    The harking back to our glorius and inclusive tradition, or on our scriptures, to marshall arguments in support of any thing has always worried me.

    The arguments that the lawyer fighting for Shah Banu had built, namely trying to find a scriptural justification for a man to pay sustenance for a wife he has divorced, had fallen in the same trap.

    Once we use these scriptures as guides for our conduct in contemporary times, we will be trapped. our opponents will use the same scriptures to counter us in hundreds of ways

    We have to fight these antediluvian arguments and agencies in the present and the supremacy of a contemporary context has to be firmly established. In the manner that the Delhi high court has done in the caee of article 377

    As for Subash, people like him can not understand that there is something called a democratic sensibility.

    I don’t have to be a tribal, or a dalit, or a palestenian, or a woman, or a muslim, or an Iranian to speak up against the oppression of any one of them by those in authority.

    Forgive him, Nivi for he knows not.

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  27. While I agree with Sohail that there are limitations to siting scriptures for one’s choice of a lifestyle, there are limitations in secular/universal discourses as well. For many people, a particular school of beliefs and thoughts forms the centre of their spiritual and material experiences. Secular “enlightened” ideologies narrow down the scope for the possibility of overlapping, historic identities by the artificial yet rigid binaries they create in the process.
    The main focus I believe, is inclusiveness and interconnectedness that enables fluidity and intersection as Gautam Bhan points out, at various levels.

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  28. When news sites reported about Section 377 being overthrown by the Delhi High Court, I watched their comment sections getting filled with the intolerant, hatred and malign views against the LGBT community. I wondered how we would be able to live openly with dignity when such homophobia is uncontrolled in our country. And now I see this interview which again exposes the bigoted views of the narrow-minded. But after reading the comments posted here, I’m enlightened. Even though there is much to be done, I’m hopeful of a better future.

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  29. this man is crazy.. his statements imply that if a gay man watches a lot of straight sex, he will turn straight! does he understand what consensual sex with a dog is? Ch^%@

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  30. *coming from an heterosexual* altho i dont have much knowledge over the subject.. i am completely against BP singhal here.. this guy in general is a Dumb idiot.. he is still living in the traditional india and if it were upto him he would plan to keep it that way forever… if you dont have anything against the queers then let them be… there is no need for this paper tiger and putting all these people under a criminal offense.. just like other countries people should be allowed to choose whatever sexuality they prefer.. its a personal choice and the government should have nothing to do with it.. i have seen a few of BP singhals views on other subjects as well in the past and they are pretty much similar to what a dictator would be like.. its not his position to decide who should a person(male/female) should have sex with? also not his position to decide if the people should go for the ‘pub culture’ or not? hes way out of line and is coming into people’s personal lives.. i am ashamed that people like these plan to be the leaders / have been leaders of our country !

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    1. you should see his views in the Sept, 2008 NDTV big fight.. Hilarious and absurd dont even begin to describe his views.. his closing comments describing homosexuality as an international conspiracy involving the “International Sex Mafia” was priceless!!!!

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