India witnessed a historic judgement by the Supreme Court on Sept 6th 2018 when a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality by partially striking down the colonial era provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. It was a huge victory for the LGBTQ community that had been fighting hard to decriminalise homosexuality.
Many activists and LGBTQ community members struggled and sacrificed their lives in the journey to see the new hope of light with rainbows in the cloud where eventually love won the battle. As the verdict was delivered in the Supreme Court, we witnessed the gay rights activists, LGBTQ community and a majority of heterosexuals celebrating the victory on the roads and many celebrities came in full support of the verdict to congratulate the LGBTQ community.
Just months after the historic verdict, on Nov 25th, Queer Pride Parade was organised in the capital from Barakhamba Road to Parliament Street in Delhi where members and supporters from the LGBTQ community participated. The entire one-kilometre stretch was decked in rainbow colours to celebrate identity, victory and freedom.
This was not the first Queer pride organised in Delhi. From a few hundred mostly masked participants in past parades, this one had more than 5000 participants mostly unmasked. All the usual rainbow colours and gaiety were there still but something was really different. We saw political placards targeting the ruling BJP party which struck an awful note to the otherwise colourful parade.
We came across some hate mongering political agenda driven placards like this one:
There were other posters with slogans on them that made absolutely no sense, other than hating on one community – the Hindus.
“Love Jihad kya hai? Islamophobia hai”
After the verdict decriminalising gay sex was delivered by the Supreme Court, the All India Muslim Association and Personal Law Board confessed their disappointment on the verdict. Jamati-e-Islami Hind’s Secretary General Muhammad Salim said in a press statement ‘Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is dismayed and disappointed over the Supreme Court verdict to legalize homosexual behaviour between two consenting adults’
While most Islamist groups condemned and were dismayed by the verdict granting homosexuals their rights, it is fascinating how the gay community shies away from criticising religions other than Hinduism. In fact, the very people who this pride march demonised are the ones who stood by the LGBTQ community and in fact, celebrated with them when the verdict was delivered.
The people who held this placard considered the minority (minuscule minority) opinion to be that of the entire community of Hindus while shying away and screaming Islamophobia about a subject which is completely unrelated to gay pride, to begin with.
None of them bothered to acknowledge that Islam has nothing to do with freedom for gays since in most of the Islamic countries gay people are shot to death or hanged. Their political agenda shone through thereby maliciously compromising the interest of the LGBTQ community.
“Rainbow over Saffron” and “Mandir Raj Nahi Chalega, Isbaar hogi pyaar ki jeet”
At the onset, the very statement is asinine. It is almost as if this bunch was trying to pass off their Hindu hate by gift wrapping it in rainbow colours. Were they trying to imply that a Mandir means hate towards the LGBTQ community and the Babri Masjid signifies love? If yes, that would be a ridiculous statement and seems highly unlikely. In all probability, they simply meshed the two statements together to pass off their anti-Hindu stand by covering it up with slogans about LGBTQ, a ploy that certainly doesn’t serve the interest of my community.
They missed a crucial point that it was only because of the Saffron Brigade (BJP) that notorious Section 377 got banished from the law books. Had BJP government opposed the case in the Supreme Court as earlier governments had been doing, the ruling would have never come.
How the left has used its anti-Hindu rhetoric to undermine the interest, liberty and freedom of the LBGTQ community is evident from the fact that the left came together to condemn our own, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi merely because she asserts her Hindu identity and wanted a Ram Temple built.
In fact, right after the verdict came out on 377, RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat came in full support of the verdict and said “LGBTQ community is very much part of the society and they should not be isolated”. Ignorance of all of this certainly rises leads to a hateful political agenda.
“Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy” and “Queers Against Hindutva”
Many Hindu temples have depictions of homosexuality, Hindus accepted the verdict on 377 positively whereas Muslim and Christian groups of Kerala and North East came out against the verdict. The annual festival of Chamayavilakku at the Kottankulangara Sree Devi Temple in Kerala this year witnessed 4000 participants who cross-dressed. This can happen only in Hindu temples as Hindus are tolerant and more acceptable, unlike other religions. How many times have we seen such acceptability in Mosques or any Church?
The main aim of a gay parade is to spread love, joy and happiness whereas it turned out to be a hate parade as entire placard episode was an attempt to attack the ruling Party BJP and Hinduism. It certainly appears like those slogans and placards were planted by a vested political entity, still, it jarred amid songs of love, joy and freedom to keep the pride lively.
Modi and BJP have given a new direction to the country and lighted a ray of hope to the downtrodden and the underdogs like LGBTQ community. As a proud homosexual man I can safely say that we as a society, irrespective of our political ideologies, caste, creed and religion, we should be subtle in our outlook and approach. Instead of adding an element of hate we should have further gaiety and love to give a message of hope to other marginalised communities and certainly not go after the only religious community that perhaps joins us in our celebration of love, the Hindus.