Friday, 13 December 2013

Section 377 and modern day blind men of Indostan:

Dear readers,

The current debate on homosexuality , spurred by the recent  judgment of the supreme court of India , reminds me of  the poem written by John Godfrey Saxe in the 19th Century, about three blind  men and an Elephant. As a respect to this classical poet, before I continue writing on the topic , let my readers read this apt poem........

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"

The Fourth reached out his eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," quoth he,
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!"

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," quoth he, "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!


So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Well as the moral of this poem goes, our moral custodians, legal luminaries , opportunistic politicians
and our so-called emancipated young generation are all describing an elephant called homosexuality...

The archaic law of Section 377 of Indian Penal code , was debated in the High Court, after an elaborate debate by the civil society and it was felt that the Law was discriminatory as it criminalizes consensual sex between adults if the sexual act is  done against the law of nature: So what is this act against the order of nature?  In many cases debated in India since 1925 , various  such acts were declared as unnatural, viz anal intercourse, oral sex, sex with animals  etc. The point of debate here , if the unnatural act is done by consensus, is it criminal ? Reading the text of the supreme court judgment, I felt that the judges were of the view that even if it is logically not criminal, un-natural nature of  act itself, even if it is consensual  makes it  criminal . Hence, what is natural or not natural is for the society to decide and the onus was pushed  on to the legislature and taken away from the judiciary. Secondly there are instances of sodomy and other unnatural sexual crimes in society which article 377 protects , which the judges felt should be given due credence. On the other side  critics can always say that when the High Court has already debated the matter in length, should a two member bench take a moral stand and throw the dirty linen to the legislature, rather than cleaning it themselves. Why the  Supreme Court who  infringes into many areas which normally falls in the domain of the legislature, found this case to be put in the reverse gear?

Well the truth is on our notion of sexuality as an expression of love: Culturally and religiously we were made to believe that sex is an act for procreation and as a sacred and secret act. From that closet we are now slowly emerging to accept the fact that it is also an expression of love. Even though homosexuality, like prostitution did exist in our social milieu from time immemorial , we are still not ready to accept it as natural, even after scientific evidence proves that , same gender attraction is created by the brain and not by perversion of the mind. Neuropsychiatry proves beyond doubt that feelings and emotions , are based on electrical sensations created by neurotransmitters in the brain. So if you are in good mood and ecstatic, it is because of serotonin and nor -epinephrine levels in your brain being  high and if it is less then you are sad. Similarly dopamine makes you fall in love. The electrical signals created by those hundreds of discovered and undiscovered neuro -transmitters in our brain synapses creates the phenomenon called mind and its consequent thoughts , emotions and deeds. Homosexuality is similarly  a physiological phenomenon and homosexuals are born as homosexuals, and they feel attracted to their same gender, and since they love each other, they express it and derive pleasure . They might be using their fingers, their mouth or thighs or even their anuses for that matter, but what is your problem as along as it is not a problem for them and for you ?

As like the unknown elephant for the blind men of Industan, our modern day blind men too don't realize that heterosexuals and homosexuals are tweedledum and tweedledee , differing only on the HOLE but not on the WHOLE:




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