01/04/2015 8:14 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

Love Is A Bad Word In Our Society

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - NOVEMBER 30: Indian members and supporters of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community hold placards and dances during a Gay Pride Parade, on November 30, 2014 in New Delhi, India. Nearly a thousand gay rights activists marched to demand an end to discrimination against gays in India's deeply conservative society. (Photo by Arun Sharma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

In India, it is normal to abuse women. It is normal to force men and women into marriage. It is normal to have criminals in Parliament and Cabinets. It is normal if the nation's gender ratio is skewed against women. It is normal for half of India's children to have been abused, and often by their own family members. And it is normal, as a recent online survey (by I Am Who I Am and Women Endangered) suggested that women believe that social norms override love.

It is amazing that those who nurture such 'normalcies', and who like criminals are bereft of love, care and humaneness, are given the right to love. They are also not denied the right to a family even though they are agents of hatred.

If hatred gets such a strong structure, then why should those who only want the right to love be denied that basic human right?

Homosexuals are probably the most intensely loving individuals. Think of it, their love is so strong that even after 100-plus years of 'illegality' tagged against their natural being, they have continued to love their partners, families and have never given up on an emotion that fosters peace, all virtually without any support system be it from the law or society.

Our government, claiming a higher moral ground, carries a prejudice that denies homosexuals their right to love. This prejudice was underlined at the United Nations (UN) where India voted against the marital rights of homosexual couples employed with the international body. India sided with nations such as Russia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan and Pakistan (amongst others), and these countries claimed that the imposition of the UN norm on the local jurisdiction and legal system was not permissible.

According to certain officials with the UN, reportedly, the vote should never have happened as the Russians (who made this move), should not have been allowed to export their domestic hostility towards LGBTs to the international stage. That apart, some legal and human rights experts wondered why the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights is not as powerful as it should be and equally administered across the globe.

In India, the challenges are layered and complicated. The issue is not merely about Section 377 that criminalises homosexual acts (although it is the most significant hurdle) but the assumption that the law is only about sex and not love. This conclusion leaves homosexuals to be perceived as sex crazy people and that is not something that society easily accepts -- even amongst the sexual majority.

Technically, the law is focused on the sexual act but in spirit, like in the case of heterosexuals, sex is part of love-making. Therefore, the law comes in the way of two consenting adults who wish to make love!

What further complicates issues, and brings out the stark hypocrisy of government and sections of society, is that sex is not to be talked about and should remain within the privacy of the four walls of a bedroom. Then why should it bother anyone as to who is having sex with whom? Or who loves whom and how?

"Our government, claiming a higher moral ground, carries a prejudice that denies homosexuals their right to love."

The fact though is that India is still stuck in a time where love is not central to marriage and to have children is part of a 'to-do' list within that structure. This reduces sex to a near emotionless action to create children that inherit wealth and carry further a legacy. Only a small section of society accepts both the separation of love from sex, as well as the inclusion of sex as part of love-making. This section is so small in size or in voice that it can hardly influence a broader debate on Section 377 to include the right to love.

In most debates, there is no straight answer to these questions and facts as every homophobe responds with ideas of morality and concepts of culture, both of which are collective figments of imagination that they force on us as their reality. What they forget is that the "voice of the majority is no proof of justice," a point made by Friedrich Schiller, the 18th-entury German poet and philosopher.

The battle ahead is obviously a more difficult one and probably even more tedious. There is a growing trend in any case where the majority, more often than not, pushes and corners the minorities rather than lending a hand and including them into the benefits of a common system. Yet one can't give up and must take hope and solace in the words of Ayn Rand who said "the political function of rights is precisely to protect minorities from oppression by majorities (and the smallest minority on earth is the individual)." Yet, whether the government and the Supreme Court of India make sense of this is to be seen.

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