The ‘Miniscule’ Problem

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“…miniscule fraction of the country’s population constitute lesbians, gays, bisexuals or transgenders…” (page 83, para 43 of the Supreme Court judgment that recriminalises sexual minorities)

I write this article two days after the first anniversary of the 16 December Delhi gangrape case. I wasn’t present in the city during this time last year but the outrage that followed shook the political foundations of the entire country. People were out on the streets demanding better safety for women and stronger laws. Politicians across ideology joined in the chorus. Within days the government was forced to bring in a strong ordinance, which later became a law. Whether things have improved for the ‘weaker’ sex is still debatable but what is more important is that almost the entire country stood up and spoke in one clear voice. A year later, the highest court of the land recriminalised yet another ‘weaker’ sex — in this case sexual minorities — in the process reinstating a British law of a long-forgotten Victorian era. Forget about safety or protective legislations, the law of the land refuses to even accept them as equal citizens. The operative word here becomes, for all practical purposes, not ‘weaker’ but ‘criminal’.

The Supreme Court judgment did not see any storming of Rajpath; there were no candle light vigils, none of the overwhelming outpouring of youth on the streets of cities and towns. The ‘community’, which the Supreme Court judgment calls ‘miniscule’, gathered at Jantar Mantar in Delhi and other venues in other metropolises along with an equally ‘miniscule’ number of heterosexual supporters. A ‘miniscule’ number of celebrities attended these protests and the media did its own bit by giving the protests and the issue some coverage, though, of course, the focus was more on the celebrities.

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~Tehelka Archive~

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Kunal Majumder writes on politics, foreign affairs and books. Since he began his journalistic career in 2005, Kunal has reported on a wide range of topics including design, fashion, business, politics, environment, human rights and the Maoist conflict. In 2011, he won the UNFPA-Laadli Media Award for Gender Sensitivity for Best Feature report and the Statesman Award for Rural Reporting. Kunal worked with Tehelka newsmagazine from September 2009 to November 2012 as a reporter. In Novemeber 2012, he was designated as Assistant Editor in-charge for web operation. He was responsible for the revamp of Tehelka website and associated online platforms like Tehelka Radio, Tehelka TV and social media. He quit Tehelka in December 2013.

2 COMMENTS

  1. The British legacy shines on in independent India. It is good to adopt certain good things that the British has taught us. But when the British itself have gone back and changed their laws, made it more humane and gay friendly, it is ironic that we in India have upheld Section 377, an inhuman law which says that any sex between people of the same sex is criminal and gets life imprisonment. That means roughly about one tenth, if not more, as some statistics say, of Indians are criminals who should be in jail.The verdict is unimaginably regressive. It means if your brother, son , daughter , sister etc,has homosexual tendencies they are criminals and they can go to jail for life. That is absurd. Sorry to say, the retiring judge on the last day of his job has just shown how wrong and incompetent he is. Yesterday was a black day in the history of India and Human Rights.
    Now this law can be used to torture, persecute, blackmail and extort people who are homosexuals or indulge in same sex relations. It does not serve any other purpose. You cannot lock 100 million Indians (statistically one tenth of the population) behind bars.
    There are the religious god men who say the supreme court ruling is good. But a lot of God men are being caught duping, taking advantage of, and raping their own followers. And they say that we cannot accept any foreign concepts like freedom of choice to have sex with the gender with which one likes. But they have no qualms of accepting an outdated foreign laws imposed by the British long ago, which was supposedly based on the Bible.When Jesus in the bible saw the people had gathered to stone to death the prostitute (It was the law of land at that time) , he told them that he who has not sinned should stone her first. The crowd walked away and the prostitute and Jesus were alone. The prostitute thanked Jesus, and he said to her don’t sin anymore. Jesus himself defied the law of the land to stone the prostitute to death So what is Section 377, a very convenient but inappropriate adaptation which is based on the Bible,which the British govt. itself has thrown away in U. K. This law has no place in India as well…It should go.

  2. Section 377 says “Whoever voluntarily has carnal
    intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be
    punished with imprisonment for life.” So this means every man or woman who
    performs oral sex or anal sex, which is not a natural sexual act will be a
    criminal and should be imprisoned for life.Masturbation is also not a natural act
    and those who do it are criminals. So that means most of Indians are criminals.
    So that means police and law enforcing authorities should not spare
    heterosexuals who do unnatural sex like anal, oral or self sex( masturbation).
    That is why this Section 377 which was a Victorian British law made150 years
    ago makes no sense at all. Far from being Indian it is not human at all and is
    against basic Human Rights of individuals homosexual or heterosexual. There is
    no way but for Section 377 to be thrown out of law books. Scrap it.

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