It may be a strange thing for a gay man to say, but I welcome the Supreme Court judgement re-criminalising the sexual acts I feel naturally inclined to engage in.
As someone who chooses to admit to his sexuality only before other gay men, and that too very selectively, you could call me closeted. Which means that I don’t feel as unfortunate as the ‘out’ lot which feels as though Indian law is asking it to go back into the closet.
I personally welcome the Supreme Court judgement because it will drill some sense of reality into my straight liberal friends who keep pestering, taunting, hinting, trying to make me say, ‘I am gay’. They will realise that there’s enough homophobia out there, enough of it for the Indian Supreme Court, considered a liberal institution, to re-criminalise ‘unnatural sex’. That gives me some semblance of an excuse, or so I hope, to remain closeted. Continue reading Why I prefer the company of homophobic people: Anonymous→
On Friday, March 23 2012, Sunil Gupta’s photographic exhibition ‘Sun City & Other Stories’ opened at the Alliance Francaise in Delhi. That evening itself, plainclothes men of the Delhi Police from the Tughlaq Road Police Station arrived at the show and ordered the removal of numerous photographs. In the chaos that followed, the photographs were removed by the Alliance Francaise under the ‘supervision’ of the Delhi Police and the exhibition was closed for the evening. The next day, the Alliance Francaise informed Sunil -via a third party – that the entire show would be shut down.
Why did this happen? On that day itself the Delhi Police said that someone had called the emergency police hotline, and complained to the Delhi Police about this exhibition which, according to the complainant, was ‘against Hindu culture’. Another version of events, also produced by the Delhi Police, claims that they received a complaint at the Tughlaq Road Police Station from someone who had made a video of the exhibition, complaining about the nudity in the photographs. Continue reading Nigah statement condemning the shutting down of Sunil Gupta’s exhibition ‘Sun City & Other Stories’→
PRESS STATEMENT: MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS CRITICISE UNION HEALTH MINISTER’S STATEMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY
6 July 2011: We are a group of highly qualified mental health professionals who are practicing as psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and behavioural psychologists from across the country. We regret the statement made by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on Monday where he called homosexuality a “disease”, as being “unnatural”, and a having “come from western shores”. Scientific evidence shows that homosexuality is a natural variant of human sexuality and is not a mental disorder or disease. Homosexuality as a specific diagnostic category was removed from the World Health Organisation’s ICD-10 Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders published in 1992, and from the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV Guidelines in 1973. Continue reading Mental Health Professionals Criticise Union Health Minister’s Statement on Homosexuality→
News reports on several media channels have just reported the death of Dr Srinivas Ramachandra Siras, 64, Reader and Chair of Modern Indian Languages at Aligarh Muslim University. According to reports, Dr Siras’ body was found “in mysterious circumstances” with bleeding from the mouth in his home in Aligarh.
Dr Siras, as is known, had recently fought against his unlawful and unethical suspension from AMU on the grounds of “gross indecency”. After decades of teaching, he was suspended merely a few months before his retirement on the basis of videotapes filmed by intruders into own home without his consent in a blatant and homophobic violation of his privacy. Right after, he said: “I have spent two decades here. I love my University. I have always loved it and will continue to do so no matter what. I wonder if they have stopped loving me because I am gay.” Continue reading Statement on the death of Dr Srinivas Ramachandra Siras under suspicious circumstances→
(I had conducted this interview while working on a story on the Delhi High Court judgement on the 377 case. While that story didn’t materialise, I thought I should post this interview now.)
PURUSHOTHAMAN MULLOLI is general secretary of the Joint Action Council, Kannur-India (JACKINDIA) which intervened in the Section 377 case in the Delhi High Court. In an interview he explains his opposition to the case.
I have two daughters, born 1984 and 1988. As they grew up we noticed that both of them were ambidextrous but gradually the 84 born started favouring her right hand over the left but the 88 born did the exact reverse. She began to rely more and more on her left hand to do things like eating, opening doors, picking up things, writing etc,things that “normal” people including my elder daughter do with their right hand.
A couple of interfering neighbours tried telling us to ‘teach’ our daughter to do things properly and not to eat or touch ‘saraswati’ with her dirty hand. Luckily we told these busy bodies to mind their own business and let her be. Continue reading Right Hand, Wrong Hand→
In the aftermath of the Delhi High Court judgement reading down Section 377, the initial euphoria and celebration is now being increasingly met with an equally strong backlash. Some of this has of course come from the religious right of all denominations (Hindu,Muslim, Sikh, Isayi Apas mein sab bhai bhai), the army, politicians, conservative commentators in the press. Underlying much of the oppositions seems to be a sense that somehow the decriminalization of homosexuality is going to turn everyone gay, a sentiment that sounds bizarre to us.
But now that I have been thinking about this I think I am beginning to understand the fear that is articulated in this “homosexuality-as-contagious-virus” position. Because in one sense they are right. In his post Lawrence speaks of the radical politics of impossibility – the change in the law suddenly makes possible a new set of imaginary possibilities that we could not dream of hitherto. And so BP Singhal and Dominic Emmanuel and everyone else who is saying that the presence of the law performs a stellar function against the rise of a virtual army of gay people and must remain on the books, even if, and indeed especially because, it is never used against actual real gay people, have a point. Continue reading Why I Feel For B.P. Singhal→
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.Continue reading BP Singhal: “I don’t have any problem with homosexuals. Do you?”→