December 13, 2013
It is with deep shock and disappointment that we received the regressive judgment of the Supreme Court dated 11-12-13, on the reading down of Section 377 of the IPC related to the rights of queer (lesbian bisexual gay and transgender…) people in this country, which reverted the decriminalisation of non-normative sexualities following the Delhi High [...]
August 23, 2009
50 Milligrams Of Clomid, INDIANS ACROSS THE WORLD celebrated their independence day with dampened fervour over the past week, to salvage nationalist pride out of the economics of infection and pathology of recession. While all this was happening, two incidents caught my attention.
First, was a talk show on CNN-IBN discussing whether independent India is open to homosexuality, aired during the Independence Day week. The ‘experts’ invited to speak were responding to a CNN-IBN and Hindustan Times survey in which almost 70 per cent of the respondents felt that homosexuality should be illegal. The ‘liberals’ were represented by the likes of Shyam Benegal, Mukul Keshavan and Gautam Bhan. The ‘conservative’ was a young religious leader (whose name I cannot remember) and sitting on the fence was Jaya Jaitley, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid. 50 Milligrams Of Clomid ebay, The discussion sparked many a fire, but was hackneyed – the same arguments and the same defences that are not worth repeating here. Yet, the unprecedented ‘openness’ with which the audience was engaging with the issue of sexuality, and alternative sexuality, on prime time television was an encouraging sign. Such has been the case for some time now, and especially since the historic Delhi High Court judgment of July 2, 2009 decriminalizing, all forms of adult, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid usa, private and consensual sex. The findings of the survey (even if statistics are graver than damned lies) does throw light on the societal prejudice that ‘queers’ face in India, despite progressive judgements. 50 Milligrams Of Clomid, The sharp divide in beliefs and perspectives among the panelists on issues of sexual morality finally reached a climax through a moment of nationalism-induced catharsis. Sagarika Ghose, the anchor, abruptly ended the show by asking everyone to stand up to the national anthem. And as per her instructions everyone did – the conservatives, the liberals, 100mg 50 Milligrams Of Clomid, the fence sitters, the homosexuals, the heterosexuals, the non-heterosexuals – everyone stood upright soaking in the buoyant verses of Jana, Gana, Mana and it seemed a perfect end to the crisis of India’s morals, culture, sexuality and religion where national pride erased all differences and made us realise that, after all, we are all ‘Indians’ first – like SRK’s Chak De hockey team, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid craiglist.
The second event takes us to New York, USA. On August 16, when the India Day Parade was to march down Madison Avenue and when SRK’s detention at the Newark airport occupied most of the airwaves and columns, ‘queer’ Indian groups were denied permission to join the march. This was nothing new but a rude shock nevertheless, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid. In the 1990s the South Asian Lesbian and Gay Association (SALGA) fought hard to get themselves included in the parade holding a parallel march every year till 2000, when finally they too were granted permission to participate. This year was special for the ‘queer’ diaspora because they were equally excited about the Naz judgement, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid japan, but the Federation for Indian Associations – that organises the parade failed to respond to SALGA’s application to march, effectively barring them from Sunday’s parade.
These two incidents raise an important question: What is it about the idea of nationalist belonging that is so seductive even for groups that have been marginalized in the name of nationalism. There are two possible responses to this question: first, responding to nationalism’s call can be understood as an assertion of the belief that our ‘cultural heritage’ which nationalism claims to celebrate is composed of indigenous forms of non-heterosexuality and that sexuality is not a western import that threatens to contaminate this heritage. 50 Milligrams Of Clomid, This is a counter-cultural position that argues against the point that gays and lesbians are a blot on the face of India’s rich culture. Second, the falling back on nationalism is in the hope of gaining full and equal citizenship status.
Both these responses are useful positions to begin with, but subsequently lose rigour and finally get enveloped in the all-encompassing blanket of nationalism that ostensibly erases difference in the name of maintaining diversity. The first position demands that we excavate the history of non-heterosexuality in India – but such a move can unknowingly begin to use the same registers for understanding history as the Hindu Right does, 750mg 50 Milligrams Of Clomid. For instance, Gay rights activist Ashok Row Kavi has argued (I run the risk of oversimplifying his position) that Hindu culture has been open to homosexuality, but it was only when the Muslim ‘invaders’ plundered India, that India’s tolerance with sexual diversity took a plunge. Irrespective of whether such an argument is historically accurate or not, it uses the same logic as that of the Hindu Right, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid.
The second position is a purely liberal one that equates nationalism with citizenship. While these two terms are used interchangeably on many occasions, they are not synonymous. While citizenship guarantees unconditional access to human rights to all citizens, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid australia, nationalism mediates who qualifies as a citizen in the first place. Whether you are ‘Indian’ enough to be considered an Indian citizen is an evaluation that takes place within the paradigms of nationalism. 50 Milligrams Of Clomid, The previous position attempts just this: to argue that homosexuality is ‘Indian’ (or Hindu) enough. The trouble is that you require evidence that still has to prove the homosexual’s ‘Indian-ness’, and belonging continues to be predicated on notions of national homogeneity – you might be considered citizen enough if you sing the national anthem, or perform being the good citizen. But nationalism’s exclusionary logic will continue to place you on the shadow lines of citizenship. However, if queers continue to tow the line of nationalist acceptance as a form of gaining rights, there is a danger of what Jasbir Puar calls ‘Homonationalism’, by which she means that homosexual solidarity starts getting predicated on nationalism’s terms, 200mg 50 Milligrams Of Clomid. For instance, Hindu homosexuals might say that they are more ‘Indian’ than Muslim homosexuals and claim recognition on that ground. Puar’s reference is to homosexual solidarity that emerged post-9/11 directing wrath at Islamic countries not only for what they did to America, but also for how homosexuals are persecuted there in the name of religion, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid.
The reason for my fragmented narration of the above events is an exercise in autocritique that all of us must subject ourselves to, especially if we are committed to the idea of emancipation and are aware of the cruel tropes of the register called ‘nation’. For instance, Ultra Violet describes itself as a ‘site for “Indian” feminists’. What does this identification mean. Does ‘Indian’ refer to national affiliation, 1000mg 50 Milligrams Of Clomid, or does it refer to location. 50 Milligrams Of Clomid, Who is an ‘Indian’ feminist. And what might be ‘Indian’ feminism. How ‘Indian’ will feminism have to be to qualify as ‘Indian’. If some believe that feminism is a western idea that contaminates women in India and make them man-haters and family-breakers – how should a woman evince her feminist belief by not disrupting her ‘Indian-ness’. An excavation of this nature – like excavating ‘Indian’ homosexuality – runs the risk of essentializing history, culture as well as sexuality and gender. It also makes feminists and queers who get engulfed within the nationalist narrative strange bedfellows with the religious Right, 50 Milligrams Of Clomid. We see the religious right giving sexuality as much attention – bar dancers, sex trafficking, ‘obscenity’, sex education and indeed homosexuality – in effect, 10mg 50 Milligrams Of Clomid, sometimes unknowingly, with dangerously similar and shared agendas with feminists and queers, that restrict affirmative, safe and responsible sexual practices.
I am troubled by the foregrounding of the idea of the ‘Nation’ as the benchmark for understanding ‘belonging’, especially for those who have been excluded through nationalism’s dominant narrative – that is both compulsorily heteronormative and patriarchal, and virulently communal. And even if we are attentive to its over shadowing weight that erases subaltern histories, experiences and diversities, we are unable to successfully confront its poetic seduction.
I raise these concerns as an Indian queer feminist who hates to stand up to perform ‘nationalism’ when the national anthem plays in movie halls, but always inevitably, reluctantly does.
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August 18, 2008
DR RUTH VANITA Zithromax Directions, (b.1955), is a renowned academic and author specializing in lesbian and gay studies. Some of her acclaimed books include Queering India: Same-Sex Love and Eroticism in Indian Culture and Society (2002), Love's Rite: Same-Sex Marriage in India and the West (2005), and Gandhi's Tiger and Sita's Smile: Essays on Gender, Sexuality and Culture (2005).
In this interview she answers questions about the representation of LGBT issues in the English media, mainstream cinema, Indian literature and the women's movement.
Meena Kandasamy: The pride parades in Bangalore, Zithromax Directions india, New Delhi and Kolkata have garnered a fair share of media representation. How do you view this development?
Ruth Vanita: This is not a new development as far as the Indian national media in English is concerned, as they have been largely positive and sympathetic towards LGBT issues. They covered the early protests by ABVA and others in a supportive way and have also been instrumental in bringing same-sex suicides and weddings to public attention over the last three decades. If the Indian language media has also reported the pride parades sympathetically, that is a great development, Zithromax Directions.
Meena: A historic moment for lesbianism in India was the Deepa Mehta film Fire and the frenzy it evoked from Hindu right-wing fundamentalists. How do you, in your experience as a scholar on sexuality in India, perceive their allegation that same-sex love is 'foreign' to Indian culture.
Ruth: As Same-Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History (2000), 100mg Zithromax Directions, co-edited by Saleem Kidwai and me, has unequivocally demonstrated, same-sex love and sexual relationships have been represented and discussed in Indian literatures for at least two millennia. We collected translated texts from 15 Indian languages written over a period of 2000 years, which depict same-sex relationships. Zithromax Directions, The attitudes range from disapproval to non-judgmental depiction to celebration, and the languages include Sanskrit, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali. So the myth that homosexuality is a Western import has been laid to rest although some people may still be in denial about it. An updated edition of this book will appear from Penguin India this November. 10mg Zithromax Directions, Meena: How do you find mainstream Indian cinema's depiction of the LGBT community. Transgenders are almost always mocked or shown as ridiculous; homosexuality has become a butt of jokes in films like Kal Ho Naa Ho; and lesbianism seems to be something that does not figure in their imagination (even in Love Story 2050, Harman Baweja wants to take rebirth as man for the only reason that he can love a woman, because in his understanding, if he were a woman he cannot love another woman).
Ruth: My Brother Nikhil depicted a gay male relationship with sensitivity, and was well received, Zithromax Directions. Also, Hindi cinema, by depicting close male friends as inseparable and willing to live and die together (e.g. songs like “Yeh Dosti" in Sholay) has provided a space for non-heterosexual relationships to be seen as exclusive, Zithromax Directions us, even primary. In my book, Gandhi’s Tiger and Sita’s Smile (Yoda Press, 2006) I wrote an essay on this kind of depiction of exclusive, primary, male-male relationships in the films Dosti and Tamanna. Tamanna also depicted the hijra community very positively, Zithromax Directions japan, as saving the life of a girl child from her wealthy, upper caste, biological father who wants to kill her. Zithromax Directions, In numerous films, cross-dressing scenes, where a woman dresses as a man and sings and dances with another woman, are highly suggestive of lesbianism. More importantly, as both I and film studies scholar Shohini Ghosh have argued, Hindi cinema’s celebration of love as socially defiant and the most important element of life (think of the long cinematic history of depicting positively intercaste, interclass and inter-regional love such as widow remarriage etc.) has helped the public imagination become more sympathetic to disapproved kinds of love. It is not coincidental that Indian pride parades have used the film song line “Pyar kiya to darna kya” (from Mughal-e Azam) as a slogan.
Meena: From Chennai to Chattisgarh, 1000mg Zithromax Directions, there has been an alarming increase in the number of lesbian and gay suicides in India, and these have been taking place in the backdrop of the pride parades. Do you feel these people are pushed to their deaths in the same manner in which inter-caste, inter-religious lovers are. Is homophobia indicative of the Indian society's general unwillingness to accept people who are breaching conventional and sanctioned social codes (of caste/ religion/ gender), Zithromax Directions.
Ruth: In my book Love’s Rite: Same-Sex Marriage in India and the West (Penguin India, 2005), I analyse in detail the legal, Zithromax Directions uk, political, social and historical dimensions of both the couple suicides and the same-sex weddings that have been reported from all over the country over the last 30 years. There is no evidence that the frequency has increased; rather, it is the reporting that has increased. Yes, the opposition that same-sex lovers face is basically the same kind that heterosexual lovers face for inter-caste, inter-religion, cross-class, inter-regional, Zithromax Directions craiglist, international and many other kinds of disapproved relationships. However it is very important to remember that there have always been and still are supportive forces within Indian society as well. Zithromax Directions, While many families drive couples to suicide or forcibly separate them and push them into arranged marriages, many other families also come to accept these relationships and even participate actively in the weddings including female-female weddings.
Negotiation and compromise are important elements of Indian family life. I have found stories in the eleventh-century Sanskrit story cycle, the Kathasaritsagara, showing how families negotiate with children and finally accept radical cross-class, cross-caste marriages (such as a marriage between a princess and a Chamar), Zithromax Directions mexico, arguing that the couple must have been wed in a former birth. I analyze such stories in Love’s Rite. Similar arguments about gender and rebirth (the soul has no gender and marriage is a union of souls; people fall in love because of their attachment from former births and it is therefore futile to oppose such attachments) have been put forward by Hindu priests who have conducted same-sex weddings in recent times.
Meena: How would you rate Indian feminist movements and their engagement with queer rights. Do you feel that this is yet another aspect that has been ignored along with questions of caste and disability, Zithromax Directions. As somebody who co-founded Manushi, and who is assocated with Indian feminism for over three decades now, you could enlighten us on this aspect.
Ruth: In the 1970s, although lesbians were among the leading activists of most women’s organizations, there was almost no open discussion of the issue, 250mg Zithromax Directions, and if it ever came up, it was dismissed as symptomatic of Western decadent self-indulgence. This was largely due to the strong Left wing ties of Indian women’s organizations. The Left party in India has not yet shed this unrealistic approach to homosexuality. However, the non-party women’s movement has grown and changed dramatically -– lesbianism is now openly discussed and taken seriously as a political issue.
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