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Calling gays criminals and moral policing by the police

August 19, 2008

Treating gays as criminals is a 150 year old law bequeathed to us by the British and gays in India want the British to apologise for it. They are demanding that the British apologize as “Hindu, Buddhist and early Muslim cultures on the subcontinent had a long history of tolerance towards same-sex relationships.”

But we are squarely to blame if even 61 years after independence we are incapable to seeing which law is reasonable and which one is not. The British have moved on, and have liberal laws on homosexuality today. In fact Jack Straw had even proposed a law that would “make criminals of those who express their views in ways that could lead to the bullying or harassment of gays.” (this law has probably not passed as the House of Lords had voted against it).

However, gays in India have made their point and made it well. Told the Indian government and society that a law that treats gays as criminals has nothing to do with “Indian culture.” The British must be laughing at us for calling their Victorian culture our own “Indian” culture!

Films depicting homosexuality considered corrupt
Even films are attacked. The first film depicting homosexuality in India was Deepa Mehta’s film “Fire” way back in 1998. And the Shiv Sena head Bal Thackeray actually said that it would have been okay if the names of the characters had been Muslim rather than Hindu! When the film Girlfriend (2004) was released, shows were disrupted all over the country. The BJP wanted the Censor Board to “delete” scenes which were against “Indian culture.’

Interestingly, the tribals, the original inhabitants of India, supported the airing of Girlfriend in cinema halls and it is believed that this was what made the Shiv Sainiks withdraw their agitation!

Gay parties considered criminal
Policemen get “tip-offs” about gay parties and take the trouble to bust in on them! Imagine the terrible vacuum in the life of the police if homosexuality is de-criminalised. The poor policemen will have to spend all their time doing the dirty job of catching criminals who murder and rob and rape people. Their “fun” time will be over. Oh yeah, what fun to bust in on a party and huddle a bunch of helpless people into police vans. What fun it must be to torment people who can barely wield a knife a gun or a fist!

But gays are not the only helpless targets of the police . Anything to do with sexuality automatically gets a criminal tag…here is a small list:

Lovey dovey couples are criminals
The police go around stopping couples from simply sitting and holding hands. They harass, they beat, they slap, they arrest…whether it’s in Chennai, or Bangalore, or Bhopal, or Mumbai, or Bhubaneswar, or Meerut.
More on that here.

Dancing and singing is immoral
The latest news is the recent clampdown on live music and dancing
in Bangalore…the police have suddenly made a license mandatory. And instead of giving time to these places to get the license, they have been ordered to shut down…in any case with a curfew of 11:30 p.m. not much fun can be had by those who work hard and play hard.

Nightly curfews a hallmark of a virtuous society
The word curfew is associated with violence but it has taken on a different meaning in India as all Indian cities have curfews for discos and pubs. Bangalore has the most stringent one. In Delhi it’s midnight and it’s 12:30 in Kolkata and 1 a.m. in Mumbai. They say night life has been shut down in major Indian cities because most people work late and so they have little time to party. And in Mumbai policemen are deployed to ensure that bars close on time!!

Talking about sex is taboo
Film star Khushboo made the mistake of saying that that pre-marital sex is okay “provided safety measures are followed to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases”. She apparently also said that “no educated man would expect his wife to be a virgin” but hey, those were her views, and the moral police (political and other groups) should have left her alone. But as everyone knows she was hounded and so was tennis star Sania Mirza for defending her.

Too many policemen playing moral police
The police spend a lot of energy “protecting” Indian “culture” – ensuring that pubs and discos close on time, that couples do not canoodle in parks and that gays are put behind bars. Shockingly, about 400 policemen hang around in bars every night to ensure that the women go home at 9.30 pm!! These policemen should be patrolling the streets, not trying to please their political masters who get mileage from whipping up paranoia and passion about threats to some fraudulent notion of “Indian culture!”
And the politicians have an agenda…publicity. During a recent incident in Bhopal where a couple caught in a park was forced to marry, it was alleged that it was a staged drama by the Bajrang Dal and the woman “caught” was actually a member of Bajrang Dal’s women’s wing and was already married to the man. Bajrang Dal denied this and guess what they said in their defense?

If they (the couple) were married for four months, why did they meet in a park, under a tree on Valentine’s Day?

If this is the attitude towards hetrosexuality can you imagine what will happen if the government tries to change the gay law? The moral police will burn the country down!

(First is a film poster and the second photo is copyrighted to me)

Related Reading: Our reactions to people who are different
Transgender issues discussed on Tamil Television
Outrage over the “sexy” condom in India
Indian youth get their knowledge of sex from friends, porn and reading
Indians don’t like talking about sex
Mob mentality in India

More: Too few policemen in India
Too many policemen on security duty in India

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38 Comments leave one →
  1. August 19, 2008 1:31 am

    You know I saw an Oprah Show where an Indian Gay Man was once Interviewed. He was the Crown prince in a particular Kingdom in Rajasthan and he was Gay and since he was gay he was ill-treated by his citizens and was driven away from power. I was startled by the allegations of Couples expressing love in public too, I mean even the hand holding is looked upon as a crime. That is nothing less than Insane. I just wish that every single Moral Police get bombed or die of cancer.

    I detest the moral police too! However I have not seen this Oprah show so cannot comment on that. – Nita.

  2. August 19, 2008 2:43 am

    first Nita i think ur talkg about sec 377 which is not exactly anti gay it is anti abnormal sex.
    but who defines bedroom manners???

    Politicians dont think India – they think about their clan or about vote banks – oh what will this policy do to this vote bank and what will this dole do to that vote bank.. Its herd mentality – and the politicians what it to be so because it is easier to control herds and count the doyens of sucular as much as the bajrangis in that lot..
    but who here is to blame – but the selfishness of people? And thinking people and gays are a minority – a dyeing breed… or a breed whose vote doesn’t count because of the lack of their procreating abilities.

    “In India, even God cannot help. He will be a silent spectator as He will also feel helpless” — this observation came from the Supreme Court
    on a take from gandhis quotes
    Infinite striving to be the best is man’s duty; it is its own reward. Everything else is in God’s hands.
    The social and moral fabric of this country is so corrupted that people just don’t care / have given up on good governance.

    No wonder dance bar closures and putting gays behind the slammer makes politicians mard marathas and shows public apathy to real issues and democratic values and shows sensationalism of the media in the hunt for trps.

    Overall it comes down to the fact that civil people don’t challenge authority or know the laws and cops take advantage of that fact to act like common criminals, and why not? they need to bribe higher ups and politicians to get their job or their transfers to plum postings

    On sec 377 it is mainly used for entrapment just like many other sections on morals – i distinctly remember an article about police entrapping victims at vt stations for possessing adult videos on their mobiles to extract huge bribes using ignorance and fear.

    If people stand up – things do change but then again i remember what the supreme court has said.Finally dont be amazed if in the future we will have a new Vice and Virtue Ministry like in Saudi /Pakistan etc
    as it is for getting each politician in the ruling party fold they need to be offered cash and ministry s!

    Prax, thanks for that analysis. I agree, all these laws are used as a way to collect bribes. – Nita.

  3. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    August 19, 2008 6:51 am

    @Dinesh Babu:

    I am surprised by your reaction to what you saw and heard on what is presumably a popular TV show in the US.

    I take it you are referring to Manavendrasinh of Rajpipla. I am sure he is a fine, upright gentleman whose main claim to fame is his sexual orientation and what he, however belatedly, is doing about it both for himself and for others in the same boat.

    But let’s get a few facts right. First of all, the gentleman in question is EX-royalty from a tiny part (incidentally not of Rajasthan but of Gujarat) of what became a modern, sovereign democratic republic more than half a century ago. So there is simply no question of his being “driven away from power” or being “ill-treated by his citizens”. He would have neither the “power” or the “citizens” that your source refers to.

    And whatever special privileges he may have had as ex-royalty were abolished in 1971 (37 years ago — possibly before he was born) by the 26th Amendment to the Constitution of India. The only power he would still have would be within his own family, and if he was “driven away” from it it would be by that family.

    It is one thing for credulous Americans to be enamoured of royalty and swallowing a fairy (no pun intended) tale, retailed with some minor dramatic effects thrown in. It is quite another when an Indian falls for it.

    BTW here is a link to an item which I think refers to the show you saw:

    http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/oct/26look1.htm

    As regards the rest of your comment, while I empathise with your reaction to the attitudes towards public display of affection etc. and to the whole issue of moral policing, surely one has to have the patience for attitudes to change in a society that is largely still governed by traditional norms of public behaviour and by self-serving politicians who, for want of better things to do, exploit these traditional sentiments.

    I agree the situation is regrettable, even condemnable, but it is not as irrational and ridiculous as, say, the legal requirement in some states of the US to teach Creation on par with Evolution as part of the life sciences curriculum in the school system?

  4. August 19, 2008 7:15 am

    Do you really believe that the majority of Indians would change with this law’s repulsion ? As usual, changing the law is one thing and changing people’s mindset is quite another. I mean, 90 % of marriages in India are still arranged, and we changed that law 61 years ago (and also made a million movies on the subject) ;) . But you are right about the police not being able to harass these people anymore.

    The society needs to change first (sigh) and laws have no meaning. However, not getting harrassed is a big advantage. – Nita.

  5. August 19, 2008 9:56 am

    whatever transpire between two consenting adults is none of anybody’s business. But in India, somehow, everything that the other person do is our business! Sadly!

    Poking one’s nose into other’s business is normal behaviour in India! That’s why people go to lengths to keep up appearances. – Nita.

  6. August 19, 2008 9:57 am

    Hey forgot to tell you, the header looks absolutely awsome! :)

    Thanks Sakhi. :) – Nita.

  7. August 19, 2008 11:44 am

    Nita, a very good post.

    The list you have included shows ridiculous side of our law enforcement. Rather than nabbing on criminals, we focus more on silly issues to display our prudishness.

    Btw, finally a change of theme. :) Its looks nice armed with a natural headers and images for feeds.

    Thanks. You got it in a nutshell. About the theme I was tired of the old one, which I had for over a year. – Nita.

  8. August 19, 2008 12:48 pm

    It’s hard I know to change the mindset of the people. But we have to start somewhere. And by the way, I’m here because of the doctor’s post. And I’m a fan!

    Thanks Krish. :) – Nita.

  9. August 19, 2008 1:35 pm

    It is perhaps unnatural, but should not be offence if consented.

    It is true Indian Penal Code considers even volunteer homosexuality as one of the offence under the section 377.

    We Indians , straight or homo, enjoy blaming governments, Indian or foreign,for all our troubles.

    Interestingly, British government has amended the law in this respect.

    Extracts from the Sexual Offences Act 1967 showing words changed by the Act

    “s. 1

    Amendment of the law relating to homosexual acts in private.

    (1) Notwithstanding any statutory or common law provision,

    (a) a homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of sixteen years and”

    http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/en/00en44-a.htm

    So, Indian gays have to wait for few decades till the Indian legislators imitate those provisions of law.

    Daring post, Nita.

    Thanks JV. Actually it is true that not everyone can be comfortable with homosexuality but as others have pointed out in this thread and so have you, it’s no one else’s business. – Nita.

  10. August 19, 2008 1:43 pm

    I did not browse through the long list of comments under your post. I only dropped in to say that it was only last week that I came to know that homosexuality was actually illegal in India. I was shocked to discover this. It’s great to have this ‘law’ out of our country so proud of her Victorian dustbin.

    Glad you posted this!

    Ritwik, thanks. The law has a long way to go. I wonder when it will actually leave! – Nita.

  11. August 19, 2008 1:57 pm

    A hard-hitting and engaging post, Nita!

    You’ve reminded me that Victorian morality was also exported to America, with some positive, but many negative consequences.

    Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and most other members of the Founding Generation did not busy themselves with their neighbor’s sexual habits — at least not to the extraordinary degree the Victorians did. Nor was either man repulsed by sex — even out of wedlock — and both thought sex in moderation was necessary to ones health. Their attitude seems to have been widespread at the time of the Founding.

    It seems to me that in both India and America, Victorian morality empowered a few people to impose their prudish sexuality on the masses of people. But I find it especially ironic that India embraced it to the extent She did. Of course, I am no authority on India, but I have formed the impression that India pretty much took sex in stride for thousands of years before the introduction of Victorian morality.

    At any rate, what two responsible, consenting adults do in private is no one’s business but their own, and it certainly infantilizes them to make what they choose to do the business of others.

    Paul, thanks. even I am surprised as to the way we in India have adopted those prudish ways. It’s happened slowly, over 200 years and now it’s going to take several more generations to get out of it. The british drummed it into our head that we were immoral and our ways evil and we believed it. – Nita.

  12. August 19, 2008 3:09 pm

    Here is the thing, they should simply legalise homosexuality and even give them reservations in government jobs. Thats the Indian way of doing things! Hey they will contribute towards reducing the population. May be we can even have a gay version of shaadi.com. Where eager parents can fix matches betweem same sex couples of respectable family backgrounds. However I guess the repulsion of this law is not yet a political priority but I do see Nepal as the most progressive country in south asia regarding homosexuality, at least they do have an openly Gay MP!

    :) – Nita.

  13. Vipul permalink
    August 19, 2008 4:14 pm

    Hi Nita,
    Interesting post.
    There has been some mention of ‘culture’, morality, mindset, public norm etc. in the discussion so far. I’d like to add another dimension – pure jealousy and limited access. To put it bluntly – most people do not get laid enough (in India). Marriage has traditionally been the only way to enter into a sexual relationship. This gives rise to some sort of inner anger (be it either in policemen or in the street crowd [new years eve incident!]) when they see other people having ‘fun’. ‘Morality’ is just an excuse for their actions.

    I agree with Vivek that attitudes will (and are ) changing but this will take time. I have been living outside India for the past 8 years and during my annual visits always go to 1-2 bars in Delhi. If I might treat these as a microcosm of changes in urban Indian society, I noticed the following over the years:
    - The crowd mix has shifted: From the business men / MTV VJ crowds of the past to a more ‘professional’ crowd willing to spend.
    - Better mix of the both the sexes queuing up at the bar to order drinks.
    - Increased display of affection with other people being indifferent

    So whats my point? Simply that as we develop (i.e. people have more money to spend) the current generation will become more aware, experienced and will have access to entertainment. Society will evolve as a result and not due to a change in current laws. This however will take time.

    That’s an important point because suppression makes people resent those who enjoy. Because they themselves can’t or never had the chance to. Pity these people don’t realise it. And I too have noticed a change, in the younger generations…but long way to go! – Nita.

  14. August 19, 2008 4:52 pm

    well when we can’t even spot what is our culture and what not is,then how can have laws? I am reading a book by ayn rand called atlas shrugged, in that she says that laws are made for making more criminals…i agree….

    a lot of people have wrong views about homosexuality…in fact i think the “moral”(less) police have won to an extent…i find that a lot of people have a negative attitude towards homosexuality…

    Atlas shrugged huh. well that is a powerful book. I read it approximately at the time when I was your age and it affected me profoundly for a year or two. It’s got some excellent thoughts and ideas. -Nita

  15. August 19, 2008 5:03 pm

    There is something seriously wrong with how we perceive our culture ..
    In a land where kamasutra originated sex is considered to be bad. and the fact that khushbhoo had a case lodged agaisnt her prooves that we cant even talk about sex in public.
    so lets forget about gay people..first ,ppl should accept sex with an open mindedness then there we can think of gays getting respect..
    personally i have no problem if two guys are in relationship or two women..they have their own life ..let them live it …
    ther’s no point in peeping others business ..

    Offtopic..
    the theme i guess does not suit ur blog and the content u write..
    may be i am not able to accept any change after seeing the old digg theme for such a long time..
    just my personal thought ;)

    I guess we are the most prudish country in the world, barring Saudi Arabia! And about the theme, I was tired of the old one that’s why I changed it. I just couldn’t bear to look at it anymore! I might change this theme too, depending on what feedback I get. So far I have got 1 negative feedback(yours) and 2 positive. There isn’t much choice of themes for those who want a custom header. And those who want 2 columns, there is even less choice. the only reason I haven’t upgraded (so one can customize one’s theme) is because I am terrified of the the technical aspect. – Nita.

  16. Vivek Khadpekar permalink
    August 19, 2008 5:18 pm

    @ odzer:

    //… eager parents can fix matches betweem same sex couples of respectable family backgrounds…//

    Hey! You’ve forgotten something crucial!!

    What about DOWRY? Who give and who receives?

  17. August 19, 2008 5:21 pm

    The legislating of morality is a way for governments to control the citizens. Targeting gays is just a convenient way to ferment hatred and fear which can then be used against women and minorities of any kind.

    You said it! It’s a way of controlling and manipulating. When you have people always in a state of fear that their way of life is being attacked, then you can show yourself as their savior and get brownie points. – Nita.

  18. August 19, 2008 5:26 pm

    Vivek – Thank you for the info. Perhaps I should have been more specific in my comment. I just wanted to drive the point on how Gay people are treated in India.

  19. wishtobeanon permalink
    August 19, 2008 6:30 pm

    The ‘moral’ police sound like the religious police in some other countries.

    If we had enough policemen I am sure they would form them! – Nita.

  20. August 19, 2008 6:51 pm

    Sexual orientation is a personal decision and the right to decide should rest with the person concerned. For the first time at least in my knowledge an Indian politician has advocated that homosexuality be legalised in India.
    Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss said a few days ago that he is going to push for radical changes in the Indian law that are discriminatory and lead to harassment of people with alternative sexual preferences. If Ramadoss’s statements open the doors to amending this law, he would help India take the first step towards gay rights. This may eventually lead to safe sex in gays and less incidences of HIV/Aids in India.
    Having said that I don’t think having a gay relative is a comfortable idea for most people. However open minded and forward looking one may claim to be but if a child informs his parents that he is gay, it will be a rude shock for the parents.

    Prerna, I hope Ramadoss follows through. Mostly I find that he stirs up a lot of controversies. And ofcourse parents will find it very difficult to accept it in their own progeny. They want their child to be in the mainstream and accepted in society. But the thing is, if one’s progeny is homosexual, there is nothing one can do about it and one might as well try to understand it. Condemning will drive the son/daughter away. – Nita.

  21. August 19, 2008 6:56 pm

    Vivek, its very simple about the dowry thing. The one with the more whiny parents gets it. As a afterthought though I completely agree with Vipul. He has really got it. We need freedom for everyone sexually gay, straight, bi, trans and even arranged marriage types.

  22. Ravi permalink
    August 19, 2008 7:30 pm

    I hate moral policing by shiv sena or by any other group. But I am not comfortable with gay culture and don’t care if homosexuality is banned in India. I dont really care or concerned of our culture. One cannot tie a homosexual and heterosexual to the same tree. A heterosexual could never provocate any one sexually in public. I had to witness couple of occasions where I withdrew myself from being there cause of these types. If someone is gay why dont they do their sick things in their apt or some place where could get privacy. They always behave weird in public with total strangers and its seriously annoying and I think its a crime. If a woman is molested in public its a crime and why cant a gay (man) who behave indecent prosecuted to death!!! Majority of Indians are retards and we all know that pretty well. Sex is a taboo..huh..lame. Dating is bad. Cant kiss your love in public places like a park, beach..I believe any woman looks more beautiful when you see her enjoying nature. Its obvious and she looks so cute ..its hard for her guy to show some affection. Its sick we cant do that in india..moreover we have these sick people all over who ogle whenever they see a couple having good time…EEWWW. Who really cares if a pervert is killed in public….I don’t. But our barbaric stand on sex and on women must be changed. These are my personal opinions and not to insult any of you.

    Ravi, perverts are perverts and can have any sexual orientation. If you think that guys who harass other guys are not condemned, well they have to complain to the police don’t they. Unless they do that nothing can happen. And you are right about the fact about voyeurs. We have plenty of them. – Nita.

  23. August 19, 2008 8:28 pm

    I’m totally at comfort with one’s sexual preferences. Its just the way they are!! Advocating some belief is fine but trying to impose is completely wrong. I guess the police and the so called upholders of Indian traditions ignore the real issues troubling India and go after people celebrating love!! For heaven’s sake its love we need in today’s hatred and terror stricken world. Police not only do the things u mentioned but they take bribe also from couples.
    And this is priceless “Bajrang Dal denied this and guess what they said in their defense?

    If they (the couple) were married for four months, why did they meet in a park, under a tree on Valentine’s Day?” :D :D I guess that shows the marital life of these activists and their supporters and financiers. One thing I strongly suspect is that atleast 90% of these Shiv Sena, BJP et all have dirty skeletons related to sexuality in their closets. And I guess they should be sent on a trip to Indian heritage sites to see Indians have always been open and experimental in the matter of sex. These people just have their priorities horribly mixed up.

    Reema, I am a hundred percent sure that these moral police have a secret immoral life! And about their married life, I am sure it’s an unhealthy and perverted one. Or else, they are suppressed psychos. – Nita.

  24. Raghav permalink
    August 19, 2008 8:49 pm

    In a country where young love birds have to watch out for Shiv Sena, Bajrang dal n VHP nearing Valentine’s day, being a gay or a lesbian
    is really difficult. I seriously think the first step
    would be to change and make our laws flexible. But obviously dealing with all the above mentioned factions even if the laws are implemented could be an uphill task for a long time. Anyways, changes not gonna take place soon.

    Raghav, I would say not for a long long time, and as for attitudes of society, even longer! – Nita.

  25. August 19, 2008 10:25 pm

    I think you already know my opinion on this. :) We should let people lead their life peacefully until they are not hurting someone. But, in India, there are many illiterate and unemployed people who can be made to do anything even if you give them 100 Rs per day. They will be ready to be a part of a rally which will disrupt each and every transportation system, they will beat up people when they don’t even know why they are beating them up and they will become our Moral policemen, who will arm twist us to do anything they like. What a Democracy!!!

    p.s. Your blog is looking cool. :)

    Thanks Amit. You have written a wonderful post on this, and actually it was on the back of mind to link you but was too lazy as I was late with this post. But I will shall do it today sometime. Better late than never. – Nita.

  26. August 19, 2008 10:49 pm

    I sometimes wonder what is this ‘Indian Culture’ that the Bajrang Dal preaches so vehemently?

    There are innumerable examples of a ‘healthy attitude’ towards sexuality in our religious writings, our mythologies, our Puranas, our temples & sculptures. In fact it has been explored in great details & depth in our 5000 years old history.

    So why is it that these guys only preach a prudish/puritanical way of life in the name of following “Indian tradition & culture” !!

    Rahul, the middle classes in India have become very prudish but their fears are played upon and fires stoked.Their vulnerabilities are used and exploited by politicians who appear as “saviors” to save India from “foreign” cultural invasion. It’s all lies ofcourse. Homosexuality was never a prerogative of the west, it’s existed in all cultures. – Nita

  27. August 19, 2008 11:54 pm

    Nita, nice refreshment of the blog! – my compliments! :)

    This phrase surprised me quite a bit ” If they (the couple) were married for four months, why did they meet in a park, under a tree on Valentine’s Day?” – my husband and me, we are doing lots of romatinc thing like that, even though we are married since years! :)

    Axinia, thanks. :) Over here, any public display of affection is frowned upon. – Nita.

  28. Ravi permalink
    August 20, 2008 1:16 am

    Axinia

    Thats sick India for you! You cant romance your wife in parks/beaches there would be thousand eyes watchin you…LoL. Indians are crazy!

  29. August 20, 2008 3:09 am

    @ Nita:

    Above all, to me it is hilarious that a nation of over 1.1 Billion should pretend to be so prudish. If the prudes are right then we have seen a massive practical example of immaculate conception. If they are not, well, we better face up to how we really are in private.

    :) – Nita.

  30. August 20, 2008 3:52 pm

    The police (err, moral police, as they spend more time protecting the Indian culture) would always try to get some attention by busting the parties. It would be another way to get some money out of helpless people, be it gay or straight.
    Did Bajrang dal say that? Arrgh how stupid can they be?
    I hope the Indian law become more liberal with the gay community. After all the world is changing, people are changing, its time the laws change as well.
    Good theme, First I thought I was at the wrong page. :) Your other theme was like “Nita’s theme” to me, when I visit other blogs with the same theme, I would be like, hey this guy has Nita’s theme.

    Xylene, the world is changing but I feel we are going backwards! You will be surprised to know that even people in their twenties are so rigid about these things. Well, they pretend to be at least. After all no one wants to admit many things in our culture! – Nita.

  31. August 20, 2008 7:39 pm

    Moral police eh? So, they don’t marry because getting a wife has some attributed sexuality to it? wont he bear children just because it happens because of copulation? Or, if they consider marriage means private sex, it is an open secret i believe. I wonder if they don’t want to show that they are into a relationship which comes with a tag of sex(uality) at all!

    Su, I think in India we pretend that sex doesn’t exist! You see how married people behave in public, as if they are allergic to each other! Sex is a dirty word. And there is so much paranoia about it that even a non-sexual kiss is considered taboo! – Nita.

  32. August 20, 2008 8:18 pm

    @Shefaly :D

  33. August 20, 2008 9:36 pm

    This law will not change things overnight, but at least if the label of crime is removed from homosexuality, overnight, we will be able to provide better and relevant healthcare to gays (who will not be criminals anymore).
    The social acceptance of homosexuality and general understanding of sexual preference, gender identity (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_identity) and such psychosocial aspects of human sexual behavior (which is more than just reproduction, unlike other animals) will take time in India.
    But this will be one step taken forward in the right direction.

    And as for these bajrang dal and all, they are all voyeurs/ perverts/ insecure about their personal/ spiritual selves, and I have known the dark side of many people belonging to such religious extremist groups (I call them tilakdharis, as they usually put on a long tika to profess self-righteousness).

    My husband has an interesting theory- he says most people do not form a religious group or sect because they have something new (concepts or thoughts or knowledge or overflowing goodness and love) inside them to share. Rather, people group up like that because they are unhappy, and they have a vacuum inside them (spiritual vacuum, lack of contentment, insecurity about own values, talents and achievements, frustration, etc.) and are looking for some identity, some importance, something to fill that vacuum.
    So how good can a group be when most of the members are filled with vacuum?
    To feel good about yourself by means of goodness, honest achievement and humanity is a long and thankless process, it is easier to search for a superficial but strong enough identity in the form of I am a bajrangi/ I am a ShivSainik, etc.

    I also concur with Shefaly, it has always puzzled me as to whether Indian people imply that they grew a billion people by parthenogenesis?

    It is alright in India to profess and display love for your siblings, children, parents, etc., but never for your partner or spouse. Not only talking to each other, even sitting (without physical proximity) on the same sofa or divan in front of family is considered vulgar behavior for a married couple in U.P. and many other states. Even holding hands of a sick wife or a husband helping out a tired wife will be considered socially unacceptable behavior.

    I find it funny, with so many Chinese and French people asking me here if I know dancing, because they think every woman in India knows how to dance. Their source of information- Hindi Movies. They are shocked when told that we don’t wear clothes like that in India, and we cannot really dance like that with our boyfriends in India. I don’t add that you could be murdered if you do that. I just leave it at – ‘people would not approve’.

    Nomad, thanks for the in-depth look into it. I quite like your husband’s theory. It is people who are filled with vacuum who try and find solace in various groups and then they look to a leader and follow him as they cannot think for themselves. That point you brought out about marrieds is to true. Today married people in public are not supposed to hold hands or people think they are not married! Sex is supposed to be a closed-door, procreation type of thing after marriage. At times I think that we don’t encourage public display of affection even between married people because we think that a couple is not supposed to be so attached to each other. That the family is more important. – Nita.

  34. August 22, 2008 8:56 pm

    why does moral policing happen anyway? is it cuz of personal insecurities? personal fears? to acquire a sense of power that they wouldn’t otherwise have? for what?

  35. August 23, 2008 11:40 am

    Hi,

    The constitution does not call gays criminals, but society does. Article 377 speaks nothing about homosexuality per se. Add to it the fact that less than half a dozen individuals have been convicted under this article since independence, and only a couple of them were homosexual. 377 is a blanket article that covers any form of unnatural (sic) sex. Marital rape can also be argued as ‘unnatural’ by a long winded argument and there is no limit to the definition of this word.

    Secondly, eliminating 377 is not going to change anything other than giving us a symbolic recognition in the society. I do agree that people’s attitudes are changing thanks to the information age, but at the same time opinions are getting polarised. And these extreme elements make more noise since they have nothing better to do than to dispense sermons to other on how to live.

    pfft…

    oh btw, I’ve changed my opinion (after browsing for 30 minutes), I don’t like this theme… hehe! There are many reasons, the most important being that it doesn’t look professional enough.

  36. December 21, 2008 12:41 am

    Nita, I wrote a post on all the commotion about gay rights in the ex colonies of the British Empire, and on the debate around whether homophobia is an alien legacy of the Victorians.

    We are at a time when French President Nicolas Sarkozy has just proposed to the UN to pass a regulation to decriminalize homosexual acts all over the world, and all 27 European nations have agreed. The Church of Rome, of course, is instead strongly against it. The topic seems hot all over the planet at the moment.

    I linked in my post to four posts of yours, if you don’t mind, as information from a real Indian on the matter to my readers.

    As usual, you provide good orientation on the Sub Continent.

    All the best

    MoR

Trackbacks

  1. Can’t We Be Happy & Gay?
  2. Is Homophobia an Alien Legacy of the Victorians? « Man of Roma

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