This is a guest post by M. REYAZ
The Apex Court judgment of December 11, putting aside the Delhi High Court order on decriminalisation of homosexuality, pertaining to Section 377 of the IPC has clearly divided into two ‘queer’ camps, where on one side besides LGBTS are those liberals extending their support to the LGBT cause, and on the other side, there are religious leaders and groups, who otherwise would not even see eye to eye with each other (what is ‘queer’ about this second camp is not so much its sexual orientation, as the strangeness of its banding together against queer people despite their antagonism toward each other).
Continue reading As a religious minority, I empathize with sexual minorities: M Reyaz
From the Hindustan Times this morning.
Saleem Kidwai, Nivedita Menon, Mary John, V. Geetha, Shilpa Phadke and 13 other teachers and academics from universities across India.
We, as teachers and academics from universities across India, read with outrage and dismay that Dr Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras, reader and chairman of Modern Indian Languages at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) was suspended for having consensual sex with someone of the same sex within the privacy of his home.
What made the press report that came out on Thursday in certain sections of the media particularly shocking was that there were either cameras placed by students within Dr Siras’ house or television reporters got into the house and made a video film of the alleged incident that was then passed on to the university authorities. The university authorities instead of going by the constitutionally recognised right to privacy within the four corners of one’s house have instead chosen to act against Dr Siras. Continue reading Whose Morality is This?
“It is forbidden to sit with your boyfriend and claim he is your brother”
My sister sent me this one…
Reproduced from the Indian Express this morning. Of course, I wrote it entirely with Kafila in my heart, the Express just got it first :)
A gay man is given two years of electroshock therapy in a major city hospital to “cure” him — the National Human Rights Commission refuses to file a complaint. A 2004 book on queer politics sees 34 contributors write under their full names, many for the first time. Lesbian women continue to commit suicide rather than be forcibly married. Large sections of the media openly support campaigns against Sec 377 — the 1861 law that criminalises “unnatural offences” — and widely carry an open letter written by Vikram Seth and Amartya Sen against the law. The law still stands over the head of the gay community, but the challenge to it in the Delhi High Court inches towards a verdict. Meanwhile, aravanis (as hijras are known in Tamil Nadu) win a landmark battle for the legal right to have government identification cards and passports issued under “E” as their gender. Continue reading Pride, Prejudice and Politics
Like many other lovers of Bollywood cinema, I too was caught up since October this year in the countdown to the battle of all battles, with the release of Om Shanti Om (OSO) and Saawariya on 9 November 2007. Reams have been written, debated and analysed on the two films in newspapers, television networks, and everyday discussions. They have been depicted as films catering to very different sensibilities, and representing vastly diverse forms. The verdict seems to have declared both as average films, though OSO seems to be faring better than Saawariya at the box office. I enjoyed the first half of OSO particularly and thought Saawariya as a film with great form, but not much content.
However, as a fan of Bollywood popular cinema, what struck me most was one striking similarity between the two films. I thought both the films offered great visual pleasure and feast for the female spectators, where the spectacular and stylish nude male bodies and images of both Ranbir Raj Kapoor and Shahrukh Khan, though very different from each other, were the prime objects of desire and erotic spectacle. Both OSO and Saawariya have urban heroes, whose bodies are produced and carved, rooted in providing a voyeuristic visual treat especially to most straight women and gay men. The identity of both the heroes in these films in centrally tied to the consumption of their nude bodies by the viewer. The films in some senses signify the coming of age of a new genre of Bollywood cinema, where it is not so much the female body but the male body which circulates and is on display, offering a sexualised imaginative anatomy. They also signify that the language of discourse of Hindi films has undergone a dramatic post modernist change in its conception of desire, where most of it is conducted not through the soul but through the body. There is no central heart, but a decentring of emotions at play here. In the recent past too, nude male bodies of Hrithik Roshan and Salman Khan have been offered to the viewer. It perhaps is also a reflection of the fact that more and more women are crowding the cinema halls and form at times the major chunk of spectatorship, and they are a vital part of the cinematic experience.
Continue reading Charu Gupta on Om Shanti Om and Saawariya