This is a guest post by Pronoy Rai
There is something awfully nostalgic about May 16. The election results brought with them a sense of melancholy-laden déjà vu. For the queers and allies on the political Left, the sinking feeling that May 16 brought with it, was reminiscent of yet another day, December 11, 2013; the day the Indian Supreme Court reversed the decision of the Delhi High Court decriminalizing homosexuality in India. It was once again criminal to be gay in India; once again the legal State apparatus had rendered queer bodies vulnerable to violence, from the State and from the political Right. There was a sense of desperation and disheartening injustice; what avenues remained to be sought when the country’s highest courts had us disappointed?
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had vehemently welcomed the Supreme Court judgment then, but our incoming Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, remained silent. It was perhaps too trivial an issue for him to address; when were rights anyway a matter of importance for him? If the indigenous people and forest dwellers of Gujarat could make the Indian mass media listen to them, they would tell us the story of Gujarat’s abysmal performance in settling land claims and distributing title deeds. Rights, especially of the fragments, are a roadblock for the Modi-style Development machine.
Continue reading Queer Eye for Narendra bhai – Affect, Memory, and Politics in Desperate Times: Pronoy Rai
Our India is a religious country whose overwhelming majority believes in religion and upholds traditions of the east. All religions emphasize on construction of a family through marital relation between men and women, on which depend not only the existence of human race and lasting peace and tranquillity in the society but it also establishes the respected and central position of woman in the society.
The Constitution of the country has rightly described homosexuality as a punishable offence. It is because homosexuality not only prevents evolution and progress of human race but also destroys family system and social relations. Moreover, it is a great danger to public health. Medical research has also found it as a basic reason for the spread of AIDS…
( Signatories : Maulana Syed Jalaluddin Umari – (Ameer (National President), Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Maulana Mufti Mukarram Ahmed – Shahi Imam, Fatehpuri Masjid, Jagat Guru Swami Omkar Anand- Sanatan Dharm, Gyani Ranjit Singh-Chief Priest, Bangla Saheb, Fr. Dominic Emmanuel, Lokesh Muni- Jain Dharm, http://jamaateislamihind.org/eng/joint-statement-of-religious-leaders-on-supreme-court-order-on-article-377/
The recent judgment by the Supreme Court which has recriminalised homosexuality might have baffled a broad section of peace and justice loving people but it has definitely emboldened many a self proclaimed leaders of religion and purveyors of morality who today feel vindicated. For them it is a moment of celebration. Continue reading ‘Orthodox of All Religions Unite’ – Who is Celebrating the Judgment on Section 377 !
Away from the obscenity of a parade of tanks, nuclear missiles, and military might, the citizens of Delhi, once again (yesterday, the 26th of January, Republic Day) demonstrated that their re-definition of citizenship and the idea of a republic does not necessarily need an army, the AFSPA, restrictive laws like section 377, moral policing, censorship and assaults on workers, gay, lesbian and transgender people, women, the young, pensioners, minorities, Africans and other non-Indian inhabitants of Delhi, disabled people, or discrimination against people from the North East and Kashmir. Since last year, in the wake of the anti-rape protests, the 26th of January, which is nominally observed as the day when the Indian state performs its show of strength on New Delhi’s Rajpath has now been liberated by many of Delhi’s citizens groups as an occasion for us to turn away from the spectacle of the state and walk towards a liberated future. This is how the Republic gets Reclaimed on 26th January in Delhi.
Continue reading Reclaim the Republic 2014
Guest post by ANONYMOUS
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
A politician is exposed using State surveillance to allegedly woo his love interest. An editor tells a reporter his daughter’s age that the easiest way for her to keep her job would be to have sex with him. A godman and his son are both arrested for sexual assault and rape. A riot in Muzaffarnagar over false rumours of inter-religious ‘eve teasing’ left 48 dead and 15,000 homeless. The debate on rape, consent, gender relations sparked by December 16, 2012 continued throughout 2013. And by the end of it the Indian Supreme Court decided that the Indian Constitution’s letter and spirit were not being violated by criminalising consenting adults for having sex, in case the sex happened to be anything other than peno-vaginal.
India 2013 is like a pubescent 13 year old realising there’s something about the body that the mind needs to grapple with. There’s something about power, pleasure, social mores, class, law and so on, that comes together in the body and negotiates its way through bodily desire. There’s a sexual churning out there, and it’s not as titillating as the annual sex surveys news magazines do, nor is it as literary and profound as the language an incarcerated editor wields. Continue reading Sex and the courtroom
Guest Post by JOHANNES MANJREKAR
The ruling by a two-member bench of the Supreme Court, striking down the judgement of the Delhi high Court which had held that Article 377 – a pre-Constitution, 19th century colonial-era law – violated the spirit and directive principles of the Indian Constitution, seems to break new ground in jurisprudence. In an era where governments worldwide have been engaged in systematically rolling back hard-won civil liberties and individual rights and violating constitutionally guaranteed freedoms and principles, one might be excused for believing that the most urgent duty of an independent judiciary endowed with a reasonable degree of conviction and courage, would be to curb the transgressions of governments against the principles laid down in their own constitutions. The recent ruling of the SC does little to encourage such a belief. Continue reading An anti-constitutional judgement: Johannes Manjrekar
It is with deep shock and disappointment that we received the regressive judgment of the Supreme Court dated 11-12-13, on the reading down of Section 377 of the IPC related to the rights of queer (lesbian bisexual gay and transgender…) people in this country, which reverted the decriminalisation of non-normative sexualities following the Delhi High Court judgement in 2009.
The Delhi High Court had based its expansive judgement on the eloquent discussion of constitutional morality by the framers of our Constitution, especially Dr. Ambedkar. Constitutional morality, they argued is the basis for equality of citizens since public morality which is largely the morality of the dominant forces in society can never guarantee democracy, and perhaps even more importantly equality and dignity to its citizens, especially its most marginal citizens. Additionally, The Delhi High Court judgement evoked the spirit of dignity, inclusiveness and non-discrimination, thereby emphasizing equality of all citizens that Nehru spoke of during the Constituent Assembly debates, so necessary for the deeply hierarchical social fabric that our country represents. Continue reading On the SC judgement on Sec 377: Statement from TISS teachers