July 03, 2009

More on 377

A few more thoughts on yesterday's Delhi HC ruling on Section 377:

As far as I can tell, Celina Jaitley is the one Bollywood personality who has spoken out -- firmly and consistently -- in favour of overturning 377. In today's Hindustan Times Cafe, for example, she says:

"With great pride and tears I congratulate the LGBT community. Homosexuality is now legal. Our long battle is won and the community can now walk with their heads held high."

Her use of that word "our" is especially moving.

I don't know Celina Jaitley, but this looks like her blog. Please go there and thank her for her courage and humanity.


As my friend Pankaj points out in a comment, I'm mentioned in the judgement. The judges used my book Branded by Law, which is about ex-"criminal" tribes, for this Jawaharlal Nehru quote:

"I am aware of the monstrous provisions of the Criminal Tribes Act which constitute a negation of civil liberty ... an attempt should be made to have the Act removed from the statute book. No tribe can be classed as criminal as such and the whole principle as such is out of consonance with civilized principles of criminal justice and treatment of offenders."

There's a clear parallel between the 1871 CT Act, which defined you as criminal if you were born into one of several communities named in the Act, and Section 377, which defined you as criminal if you were born with a certain sexual orientation.


As always, the very idea of homosexuality produces some odd bedfellows indeed: meaning, it brings together groups you would never expect to give each other the time of day. For example, the Jamat-E-Islami-Hind, the Catholic Secular Forum and the Hindu Jana Jagriti Sangh. See their remarks here.

Yep, these guardians of some faith would have you believe that, among other dread things, homosexuality is "harmful to humanity", it "would lead to an explosion in the population of HIV-infected people" and it is "unethical, unnatural, unspiritual." (Respectively).

And by saying those things, these guardians of some faith demonstrate to the world that they have no understanding of HIV or sexuality, let alone compassion or faith or humanity.


Postscript: Text of the judgement available here, or try the "Full Text of Delhi HC judgement" link here (PDF, 400K; second link downloads it as a CMS file, rename with PDF extension and it's readable).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am really interested in knowing what the reaction on Bandra catholic street is. This one really brings it home for some of us.

We'll jive to Elton John at our weddings but ....