India’s assault on Human Rights 11 December 2013

<i>British India 1860</i>

British India 1860

In 1861, people held other people as property: slaves that could be raped, murdered, or starved at will.  Nations were at war or preparing for war with dreams of empire: The USA seeing its “manifest destiny”1 as reaching the Pacific Ocean, while Great Britain dreamed of expanding beyond the confines of Alexander of Macedon’s empire. This lust for land and determination to denude the world of its temporal riches, stripping bare woods and polluting waters while heaving holocausts against those who were “the White man’s burden”2 was an infection around the world, a world crafted by the most unsavory of nations from the USA to Great Britain that had under its scourging power hundreds of millions of people from India to outposts of what would be known as the British Empire.

<i>19th century India</i>

19th century India

Great Britain ruled the waves and applied its tyranny unevenly, using religion and its bibles as the crux and cradle of its intolerance and villainy when crushing dissent and stamping out human rights and civil liberties. People of color were demeaned.  People who worshiped different than the empire—or worse, loved in contradiction to what its priestly classes said was  appropriate—were subject to arrest, imprisonment and death.  This was especially true in the wide-span colony of India that the British and their paid mercenaries called Raj (a Hindu term, राज, that meant “reign”) that they controlled, cannibalized and crucified between 1858 and 1947.

<i>Queen Victoria</i>

Queen Victoria

1858 was a critical year.  It was the year when the British East India Company transferred its claim to the conquered lands to the Crown in the person of the puritan Queen Victoria. She was proclaimed Empress of India in 1876.

During the Raj time period England forced its religion, education, rituals and laws upon a people who saw each innovation as foreign, but whose rulers wanted to remain paramount in individual principalities and so catered to the British by denying their own unique identity and adopting the foreign devil’s way. Subject to English lawlessness in India, the British outlawed the Sati (Devanagari: सतीis) ritual where a wife joined her husband in death by climbing onto his funeral pyre3 Common contemporary interpretation is that this was justified suicide, or self immolation; but this is not borne out by the actual Rig Veda script that reads:

<i>Balinese rite of Suttee</i> Houtman 1597 Verhael van de Reyse

Balinese rite of Suttee Houtman 1597 Verhael van de Reyse


इमा नारीरविधवाः सुपत्नीराञ्जनेन सर्पिषा संविशन्तु |
अनश्रवो.अनमीवाः सुरत्ना आ रोहन्तु जनयोयोनिमग्रे ||

It is translated as “Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as collyrium (to their eyes). Let these wives first step into the house, tearless without any affliction and well adorned. RV 10.18.7.  It does not mention widowhood, but rather that a widow after viewing her husband returns to her own house, as seen in RV 10.18.8:

उदीर्ष्व नार्यभि जीवलोकं गतासुमेतमुप शेष एहि |
हस्तग्राभस्य दिधिषोस्तवेदं पत्युर्जनित्वमभि सम्बभूथ ||

It can be translated as “Rise, come unto the world of life, O woman — come, he is lifeless by whose side thou liest. Wifehood with this thy husband was thy portion, who took thy hand and wooed thee as a lover.” Here the mistranslation is obvious, as suicide is forbidden by the Vedas4 comes with a single consonant in a word that means house: yonim agre (foremost to the yoni) that was deliberately changed to yomiagne (fire).

<i>Son of a prince of India</i> 1870

Son of a prince of India 1870

It was an issue that the British felt necessary to address by rejecting it and other select religious practices, especially those that included sexual worship and practice leading to an ending of all sexual acts that did not agree with British temperament that flourished in the second half of the nineteenth century.5  Women were corseted and men of India were made to look, speak, act and be educated as if they were at Oxford or Cambridge.  The poor, ever growing in numbers, were ignored, and those “of accursed vice” were repelled by communities, churches and groups, ghettoized as were Jews and others deemed unworthy.

<i>Kamasutra Lakshama temple was outlawed</i>

Kamasutra Lakshama temple was outlawed

While the military enforced strict adherence to Pauline Christianity and the transmogrification of commandments in the New Testament plagiarized from the Torah and Prophets (Old Testament) that had little relationship to the original words of past scrolls and other documents, sex became nearly taboo in discussion, art, and other enterprises. Strict living according to Christian scruples became law, and freedom evaporated in the heat of lengthy sermons and few fans.

<i>Statue in Visvanatha, Khajuraho, Central India, 10th century</i>

Statue in Visvanatha, Khajuraho, Central India, 10th century

The temples embellished with what the British termed to be erotica, but the locals saw as celebrations of life were avoided, and a strict control over the sexual lives and practices of the conquered became paramount. What could not be chipped away was ignored and declared out of bounds for human eyes to see.

In 1861, homosexuality was outlawed even though India’s past had no objection and it, like bestiality, was celebrated on ancient Hindu temples at Khajuraho6 and Konark.7

Homosexuality became, by law, forbidden: first in 1861 (then 152 years later in 2013): each time scourged by religion by those who claimed to represent their separate gods and sacred scriptures.  Even a discussion of homosexuality was looked upon with scorn, and any mention of its acceptance or depiction in any period rejected—leading to an attempt to remove even statues showing it as a way of loving current in the tenth century so that current and future generations would not be “tempted.”

<i>Celebrating the 2009 Supreme Court decision declaring homosexuality is not a crime</i>

Celebrating the 2009 Supreme Court decision declaring homosexuality is not a crime

This lasted until 2 July 2009, when a legal case brought by the Naz Foundation sued the Government of Delhi for recognition of equal rights for all people of India.  In Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi,8 the Delhi High Court ruled that the provision in the constitution for Delhi was unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults.

The Delhi High Court held that Section 377 was unconstitutional since it denied the fundamental right to equality enshrined in Article 14 of the Constitution since it created an unreasonable classification and targeted homosexuals as a class. Public sentiment and disgust towards a particular social group or vulnerable minority was not a valid ground for classification under Article 14, and Article 15 of the Constitution directly forbade discrimination based on certain characteristics, including sex.

<i>X-ray of a kiss</i>

What was startling to most people and even to the members of the LGBT community was that in the ruling by the Delhi High Court is the judges agreed that when there was an query or question about the accuracy of an accurate translation and a solid interpretation of the word “sex”.  The Court ruled that the word “sex” included not only biological sex but also all forms of human sexual orientation. Sex was not just an act, nor was sex merely for procreation, the reasoning held, but sex also defined love between two people who entered into a relationship with trust and without coercion.  With that judgment, discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation was not permissible under Article 15.  What disturbed many was not seeing two men walking hand-in-hand through the streets, as that has been a long custom in India, but to see outward signs of affection, such as a kiss. Kisses were considered as erotic and having been condemned by the Christian churches and local radical Muslim imam (إما: a title for a local leader or adviser, but who has assumed greater power as the imam conjectures that civilization is straying from a “straight and narrow” path to salvation, in many ways aping the ontology of Christianity and Hindus) that has played directly into the hands of strict Hindus who fear all things modern and free from thought to expression and critical thinking by the individual for the individual. Dissent is not allowed and the Imam is considered by many to have authority over all things spiritual as well as personal and can dictate morality and human interaction.

The next step in the 2009 judgment was, as the Court affirmed, the right to life under Article 21 was a permanent inclusion to the right to health, and concluded that Section 377 (the most anti-gay clause) was an impediment to public health because it hindered HIV-prevention efforts.9

<i>India's LGBT community protesting the 11 December 2013 Supreme Court ruling legalizing hate</i>

India’s LGBT community protesting the 11 December 2013 Supreme Court ruling legalizing hate

This ruling lasted until the theologically controlled Supreme Court of India overturned that ruling on 11 December 2013 at the request of Christian, Muslim and Hindu groups.  That Hindus joined Christians and Muslims to push for legalized discrimination with only one voice loudly and proudly denouncing the demonic and draconian  assault on civil and human rights by the vocally vicious and viperous soothsayers who sought to be regarded as intercessors for their gods and order people like blind ship in circles only their cavernous craniums could convert out of the waste that rocked their world of stagnant belief.  Ashok Row Kavi, one of India’s most celebrated—and hated—activists in the area of LGBT and Human Rights, referred to the group as India’s Taliban:

<i>Radical religious groups demanding freedom for themselves opposed LGBT equal rights</i>

Radical religious groups demanding freedom for themselves opposed LGBT equal rights

radical religious rightists who had a personal agenda that denied any dignity to any dissenter. Ashok Row Kavi10 is the author or co-author of numerous articles facing the LGBT community in India11 and India’s upper-class denial of basic human rights.  For four years the LGBT community of India knew respite, a frail, fragile, fleeting freedom that theocratic terrorist would strip them of in the name of a deity of vengeance and vitriol that unnatural fathers feast on as if they were each the god Cronus. Ashok Row Kavi ranks the court’s ruling as an absurdity as much as is the duplicity of the people who have little to no concept of their own Hindu faith.  He notes that in Hinduism there is a unique place for sexuality in one of the four canonical sacred texts of Hinduism that says Vikriti Evam Prakriti (Sanskrit: विकृतिः एवम् प्रकृतिः that which seems unnatural is also natural).

<i>LGBT India 2013</i>

LGBT India 2013

Ashok Row Kavi, having struggled with his own homosexuality, enrolled as a Hindu monk in the Ramakrishna Mission and studied theology. The future activist studied in at  the seminary and learned about other religious cultures, customs and beliefs.  He noted that in Hinduism, is quite different than Judaism and Christianity, two religions that are quite similar to the Taliban of Afghanistan.  Like the Taliban of Afghanistan, Judaism and Christianity like Islam pretends to possess powers put aside for deities of anger and hostility, to inundate the earth with bloodshed and raw carnage torn by broken bitterness blasted from throats that denied the reality of love. Ashok answered his critics: “The concept of moksha (salvation) in Hinduism is based on the tripod of Dharma (social duty), Artha (economic productivity) and Kama (sexual activity).

<i>Hindu monk performing auparashtika</i> c. 12th c.

Hindu monk performing auparashtika c. 12th c.

Nowhere is there any mention of the sexual preference of the human being, the activist declared. Fired up in anger over the ignorance and insensitivity of the court, Ashok Row Kavi opined that those who opposed LGBT rights and self-determination are “the Shiv Sena activists (who) are actually the Taliban who are falsely claiming to be Hindus.”12 Ashok Row Kavi affirmed that Vātsyāyana’s Kamasutra has a complete chapter on male-male sexuality, with chapter six (Auparishtika) detailing fellatio between two men in the frankest of terms.13 Even the Hindu temples at Khajuraho and Konark are decorated with representations and statues of same-sex love.  He went further and spoke out for the plethora of personal freedoms, denouncing those who would cover up reality with long words without substance by those who new neither how to investigate or conduct research: “I have always taken a stand that we must allow everything to be published and be damned, if need be, in the bargain. Gods, prophets, holy cows everything must be analysed, dissected and exposed for what it is: a product of human creativity and thought”.

<i>Supreme Court of India</i>

Supreme Court of India

Prior to the British who despoiled most of the world’s civilizations, Hindus had not previously discriminated and considered all forms of sexuality to be normal, healthy, and beneficial.14 The Supreme Court wrote that it was instead deferring to Indian legislators to provide the sought-after clarity, and reinstalled the old ruling from the British colonists and their mercenaries.15

<i>Protests in India December 2013</i>

Protests in India December 2013

The poignant truth that came out of the Supreme Court’s denial of human rights to the LGBT community of India is what the early rebellions against British rule taught the citizens of India: there is a time that the assassination of one or more judges, mayors, governors, legislators, or religious leaders is justified to preserve and protect human rights as no person nor any religion has the right to deny anyone the right to love and happiness. The tree of freedom cannot grow without an occasional libation of the blood of those who would deny others equality in society.


End Notes

  1. Horsman, Reginald (1981). Race and manifest destiny: the origins of American racial anglo-saxonism. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press. Owsley, Frank Lawrence & Smith, Gene A. (1997). Filibusters and expansionists: Jeffersonian manifest destiny. Tuscaloosa, AL, USA: University of Alabama Press.
  2. Kipling, Rudyard (1899). “The White Man’s Burden.” McClure magazine.
  3. Sati is also spelled Suttee.
  4. The suicide of a widow in memory of her husband is only considered praiseworthy in Garuda Purana 1.107.29
  5. Cp. Forster, E. M. (1971). Maurice. Toronto, Canada: Macmillan. Edwin Morgan Forster (1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970) is best known for his book Passage to India. New York, NY, USA: Harcourt, Brace and Co. that is set around the trial of Dr. Aziz who is accused of attempted rape, and brings out all the racial tensions and prejudices between indigenous Indians and the arrogance of British colonists who rule India.
  6. http://www.shunya.net/Pictures/NorthIndia/Khajuraho/Khajuraho.htm.
  7. Known as the Sun Temple or called the Black Pagoda by British sailors: Patra, Benudhar (April 2006). “Antiquity of Arkakshetra Konark”. Orissa Review. Odisha, India: Government of Odisha. Cf. http://konark.nic.in/suntemple.htm.
  8. A pdf of the case is available at Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 160 Delhi Law Times 277 (Delhi High Court 2009).
  9. Delhi High Court (2009). Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, 160 Delhi Law Times 277, pp. 48, 72, 91, 104, 132.
  10. The Twitter account of Ashok Row Kavi is @Amma29.
  11. Cf. Chakrapani, Venkatesan; Boyce, Paul; Newman, Peter A.; Row-kavi, Ashok. (2013). “Contextual influences on condom use among men who have sex with men in India: subjectivities, practices and risks.” Culture, Health & Sexuality. Vol. 15, No. 8 (September): 938-951. Cf. Kumta, Sameer; Lurie, Mark; Weitzen, Sherry; Jerajani, Hemangi; Gogate, Row-kavi, Ashok … & Mayer, Kenneth H. (2010). “Bisexuality, Sexual Risk Taking, and HIV Prevalence among men who have sex with men accessing voluntary counseling and testing services in Mumbai, India. JAIDS: Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes. Vol. 53, No. 2 (February): 227-233. Ashok Row Kavi has also made various films to educate people of India on AIDS as well as bring together a collection of oral histories of Indian LGBT people.
  12. http://www.rediff.com/news/1998/dec/04fire.htm, retrieved December 14, 2013.
  13. Vātsyāyana; Wendy Doniger, Wendy & Kakar, Sudhir (trans.; 2009) Kamasutra. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  14. Vanita, Ruth & Kidwai, Saleem (2001). Same-Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History (1st ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. xxiii–xxiv.
  15. Shyamantha, Asokan. (11 December 2013). “India’s Supreme Court turns the clock back with gay sex ban”. Reuters. Retrieved: 11 December 2013.

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