The love between two people from the same sex was often termed ‘unnatural’ in this recently revolutionized (woke) country. Little did they know, ancient Indian culture did not only acknowledge and accept it but it was celebrated voraciously through exquisite sculptures carved on famous monuments across the country. Evidence of it was documented and inscribed in ancient mythology. Section 377 under the Indian Penal court, came into existence during the British Raj in 1862, which inflicted heavy-duty imprisonment on people for indulgence in sexual intercourse against the order of nature. Sexual orientation as a subject has been over-complicated with multiple catastrophic views being pegged one above the other. When in actuality it’s all about an individual’s freedom of choice, sans the political, societal and religionist judgment.
When a law so outdated that it was abolished by its own creators, it was about time India did the same. The eradication of this law brought in a new dawn for the neglected LGBTQ community. Individuals under this community have been fighting a fight that shouldn’t have been one in the first place. As humans, we are wired to love out of instinct, the imposition of labels and laws scavenges the purity out of it. This new era will subdue the stigmas on the people who have suffered so far and will allow them to reach their full potential without being judged for their choices. The idea is to normalize sexual orientation in a country that has been homophobic for the longest time and to blur the gender-driven roles decided by the society. Although the verdict was evolutionary, a large part of the country still has to come to terms by changing their mindset and to accommodate this reversal hassle free.
What you identify as shouldn’t define what you do, equal opportunities are a major upheaval that should be on the horizon in the times to come, or so we can hope. Pushing the conversation forward, innumerable activists, petitioners and lawyers worked rigorously to fight this, but the statement made by Supreme Court judge Dipak Misra was the punctuating moment. “I am what I am. So take me as I am. No one can escape from their individuality.” Rightly said, a person’s individuality is the helm of his being and it takes more than just courage to own who you are with all the derogation that comes your way. A boy shouldn’t be shamed for his feminine aesthetics and nor should he feel guilty for being sensitive. Similarly, a bike riding tatted girl isn’t any less of a woman than the one who fits your prejudiced norms. As society and virtual addresses of change, let’s be more adaptive, show solidarity and be empathetic for all those who seek it. This being a landmark judgment, there’s still a long road to acquisition of certain civil rights like same-sex marriage, inheritance of property, insurance and right to adoption on their impending agendas.
Veteran vocalist on the issue, designer Suneet Verma shared his feeling on finally being legitimized in a country he calls home. Coming from a rather progressive family, Verma had no squirms coming out to his family who celebrated his choice as an individual. It was the law of this country that posed a problem but that didn’t stop Suneet from marrying his long term partner, Rahul Arora back in 2013. Now with the nation finally in their corner, here’s what the couturier has to say.
1) AFTER THE LANDMARK JUDGMENT BY THE SUPREME COURT, HOW DID YOUR FIRST CELEBRATE THE NEWS?
“The archaic section 377 law is over 150 years old – now that it has been over turned , there is plenty reason to celebrate – but with causation as the written law is just a piece of paper and a very small victory of a much larger battle – the mindset of the Indian society. For true acceptance of the gay population in the country they must feel safe and accepted in all aspects of their daily life not just by family but also at schools, jobs and everyday experiences just like every other proud citizen of India.”
2) AS EVOLUTIONARY AND WELCOMING THE TIMES ARE NOW IN THE COUNTRY, HOW DIFFICULT WAS IT TO LIVE IN THE DARK FOR SOMETHING THAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN EMBRACED NATURALLY?
“Honestly speaking I never lived in the dark. My family is extreme broadminded and embraced me and have always celebrated my choices in life. Personally – Sec 377 never mattered to me. I’ve always lived a very open life of dignity and was always clear that the Supreme Court was never invited into my bedroom. I believe in love and let love.”
3) A LAW (SECTION 377) THAT WAS ABOLISHED BY A COUNTRY WHOSE OWN KING IMPLEMENTED IT – WHY DO YOU THINK INDIAN JUDICIARY TOOK SO LONG?
“Since the Indian law makers had been going back and forth on 377 for the last decade – I wasn’t holding my breath for this judgment. Needless to say that when I did hear the judgment I felt extremely happy and elated! It’s a new dawn for India and a country is only as progressive as protected and proud all its citizens feel.”