India has finally taken a major step forward towards legalizing same sex relationships. The Delhi High Court ruled on 2nd July that homosexual acts between consenting adults are not criminal and that the 150 year-old law is a violation of “fundamental rights” and must be amended in accordance with the constitution. With this decision, consensual homosexual sex between those over the age of 18 will no longer be punishable, although the court ruled that section 377 should still apply to cases of non-consensual sex and paedophilia.
I will not get into the debate whether being a gay is ‘natural’ or not or whether such practices should be accepted by the society. I will only say what I feel. To be very frank I do not know whether homosexuality is natural or not. Heck, I do not even know what being ‘natural’ is. Is wearing clothes ‘natural’? If a person has sexual feelings towards the members of the same sex and these feelings are not in his control, is it ‘unnatural’? I do not have any answer. But if we go by this logic then even paedophilia and rape and murder can also be called ‘natural’ as even they are highly magnified outcomes of a person’s natural animal extinct. According to me this debate of ‘natural and unnatural’ is totally unyielding as it can be used to justify almost anything.
In my view, we should look at these issues in a different way. I believe anything that causes physical or financial harm to people should be banned. Apart from this, all other aspects are related to the value judgments of the members of a society. But in today’s changing social landscape the principles, ideals and opinions of the members of a society are rapidly changing and that too- in divergent directions. What is right for me may be totally unacceptable to my neighbour. In such a scenario chaos is created as everyone speaks a different language. What we are witnessing in our country now a days regarding homosexuality is this chaos only. Members of the earlier social order have grown so different from each other that now it is tough to club them as ‘society’. The disintegration of society is taking place slowly but constantly and similar minds are arranging themselves into one pocket. Globalization and Internet have given new meeting grounds to people across the world and slowly the boundaries of society in its physical sense are being broken. For ex, today some people in India, some in America and some in Britain may hold similar views regarding life and form a society. The same set of people may think very differently from their neighbours and may be disintegrated from them completely thus not being a part of their society in the physical sense. But still, they have their own customs, beliefs and way of living that is shared across the borders thus making them a part of that global society.
So how do you say what is correct and what is not when people living nearby ascribe to different ideas regarding their life? In such a scenario, I believe that the only option left is to be more accepting of the other people’s points of view. Some of the things may not seem right to us but we must not forget that we all are slowly getting governed by different set of beliefs and in days to come some of our actions may also become objectionable to others. So, unless an issue consists of physical or financial damage, we should refrain from passing value judgments. We should think about how we want to live our lives and let others decide about theirs. Live and let live should be the mantra if we want peace in the world. The same holds true for homosexuality according to me. Therefore, I welcome the court’s judgment and hope that this law will help in preventing the harassment of homosexuals by police and authorities, promoting knowledge about homosexuality and removing the social stigma attached to it.