One of the ‘accidental intellectuals’ of this decade has been Karan Johar. Not that I have any particular liking for this tissue like, touchy kind of bollywood director , but what amuses me are the ‘not so popular’ issues that he has thrown open through his ‘popular’ cinema! One such topic that popped up with his dumbo Dostana was ‘gay prem’!
Once unheard, unspoken and untouched of the gayish jokes are relatively common these days. Generally people do acknowledge the existence of ‘Gay’ men except for the likes of yoga obsessed baba Ram Dev who claims to cure? Sexuality (I hope karan Johar knows of this). The murmurs are clearer now. I just hope that we don’t restrict it to the frivolousness of the light jokes surrounding the topic. The debate has to go deeper, raise important questions about the civil rights of this minority community.
The judiciary has to be hailed for the series of ‘welcome’ judgements that it has pronounced in favour of gay men in India. The recent Allahabad High Courts judgement to reinstate Dr Sreenivas Siras back as a faculty in Alighar Muslim University is case point. To give a brief background of the case, Dr Siras was caught on a camera footage having sex with a rickshaw puller and the Vice Chancellor of the university sacked him terming it as ‘grave misconduct’. Judiciary didn’t go with the VC’s version and now Dr Siras is back to his beloved! In an ideal situation its Dr Siras should have slapped a case of intrusion of Privacy on the VC who had sent the so called journos to film him in the compromising position.
These judgements are a good beginning but the stir shouldn’t calm here, not all gay men are affluent and educated as Dr Siras. They are trapped in other unprivileged identities such as Dalit, lower castes, Scheduled castes, scheduled tribe etc. In such a case it is a dual stigma for them… do we brush them aside as they constitute a very miniscule part of the gigantic population or wait till there is an uprising (I see very remote chances as Not all gay men can unite…. They have hierarchies among them too…as all Hindus do not love all Hindus, all gay men cannot act humane to each other).
One of the solutions can be political representation, If women can have 33% reservation (though passed only in Rajya Sabha) why not gays! If for representing about 46% percent of the population, a 33% of reservation can be thought of then why not reserve atleast 5 seats for about 70 million LGBT populations in India. This proposition might seem contentious and can be criticised on many fronts such as …. How to determine which constituency they must represent as all the LGBT do not concentrate them in one particular land or so, they are scattered, unorganised like any other group in the country. Will they serve as true representatives (in that case no one can claim to be a genuine representative of another). If seats are reserved for LGBT , then reservation based on other identities may be demanded.
Brushing aside all the criticisms and doubts regarding such a move, I would just like to highlight some points …. Our society is homophobic. There have been endless cases when they have been beaten, harassed or put to death by authorities. In many states, they have killed themselves after facing harassment at home and outside. They are forced by family into heterosexual marriages. It is not that all are confident about their sexuality, at times it is difficult to come to terms with ones identity and it can be painful process when every one around despises you. Gay behaviour is regarded as sexually predatory!
Homosexuality may have been decriminalised but Government departments are yet to acknowledge the fact that India has a gay population, they are yet to be recognised as a third sex (or why not the first sex, I won’t assign hierarchies to different sex). As the LGBT are not a visible vote bank, it becomes imperative that they should be given power to address their own problems.
And what better form of Power than the Political Power…. (As in our country political power is the doorway to all kind of prosperity…. economic, social and what not.. Let gays men also have some garlands !!)