Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sexuality Through Our Myopic Lenses And Beyond: Scrap Article 377 In The Country

References: The Economic Times and Deccan Herald

Who established heterosexuality as the only 'natural' means of expressing your sexual orientation? A question mainstream social India has no answer for but is thriving on the basis of this myopic assumption. Right from the time one is born society imposes on you a belief that the only natural instinct of a man or a woman in this country is to find a soul mate of the opposite sex. Your schools, friends, parents, movies, government and everybody else believes it and so are you expected to believe it.

Not that am trying to defy the age old myth mainstream Indian population holds by saying we are utterly incorrect in our assumptions but today the times are different. The onset of globalization along with the free media in this country have given us enough instances to count on the definition of what each of us believe of those who think otherwise about heterosexuality as the only 'natural' thing. Because of the wisdom our values and the very culture, that everyone in this country seems to own and understand, have given us it is seemingly becoming obvious that somewhere by imposing this myth onto ourselves as the eternal truth we are doing injustice to the very spirit of human life.

Nobody has the intrinsic right to define what ones sexual preference should be and especially in the context of the world rising to the occasion and understanding this and thus scrapping their laws that once identified anything other than heterosexuality as the crime. Not to look for away, Delhi High Court's phenomenal verdict on PIL filed by Naz Foundation is a first towards correcting the historical injustice the Article 377 was exhibiting. What is highly appreciable is the detailed painstaking effort the duo of judges have put in while decriminalizing consensual sex between people of same sex.

Thankfully at least in Delhi today proclaiming one’s sexual indentity as a gay or lesbian is not a taboo (not that it is any important but as a matter of equalty) and individuals can lawfully make the decision of choosing their partner of any sex. All this means only one thing, even though Article 377 once criminalized homosexuality, the fundamentals on which constitution is based honoring the right to equality and freedom is above all worth admiration.

As Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Ajit P rakash Shah, who gave the verdict along with Justice Muralidhar, said "moral indignation, howsoever strong, is not a valid basis for overriding individuals’ fundamental rights of dignity and privacy. In our scheme of things, constitutional morality must outweigh the argument of public morality, even if it be the majoritarian view.”

It is always true that human perceptions or beliefs are formed and influenced by environment, consisting of upbringing, education, exposure via reading, media, and existing beliefs among people that get imparted to during our interaction. It is quite understandable then that people confide themselves in social values even though at times overriding the principles of equality as in this case. As Dr Ambedkar wrote it “Constitutional morality is not a natural sentiment. It has to be cultivated. We must realize that our people have yet to learn it.”

It is then in the interest of all us that society as whole opens its eyes in the midst of our divergent views upholding the basic thread of our culture of being inclusive to diversities.

My Wish List For Better India, Better World :

  1. Child Rights
  2. Orphan Rehabilitation
  3. Empowerment Of Women
  4. Regulation Of Sex Trade
  5. Decriminalizing All Sexualities