“Do remake my ruined life for me, and then our friendship and love will have a different meaning to the world”.
(Oscar Wilde’s letter to his friend and lover Lord Alfred Douglas)
After the Supreme Court judgment denying legal and constitutional protection for homosexual minorities in the country, the stage is now set for a great debate which will certainly contribute a lot to the notions of humanly virtues, personal freedom and sexual orientations. A large section in the society believes that homosexuality, which is portrayed as love and exchange of sexual feelings between those of the same sex, is unnatural and against the traditional conceptions of family values, laws of nature and ultimately against the long cherished ethos of our great nation and its culture. The other section considers same sex relations as one of the main categories of sexual orientations and argues that legalizing homosexuality is an indispensable part of attaining personal liberty and hence, vigorously opposes the verdict. But it is true that a large section of society is segregated from this evocative debate just as our tradition and social system would find it unjustifiable and undesirable to opine on their sexual orientations. Even though homosexuals constitute a minority in the society in the public view, there are certainly a great number of people under the shadows who practice same sex relations.
It is a fact that traditionally, the powerful elite in our social system have always opposed those liberal ideas of expressing one’s sexual orientations. Same sex relations were not uncommon in our society; even likely to be more than that in the western countries because our culture and system do not allow a man and women to engage in sex till they are locked together by the bond of marriage. So the longing for physical satisfaction was somewhat attained by secret same sex relations which may be categorized as a form of homosexuality but nobody would bring it to public view fearing to be accused as a ‘pervert’ or a ‘maniac’. Expressing one’s own sexual orientation can never be considered as a crime or an attempt to dissipate the myths of a cultural tradition but a constructive step towards attaining the ultimate goal of personal freedom and liberal humanist values. Legality of such relations must not be associated with cultural aspects, religious beliefs, caste separations or political notions. It must be treated as a form of expressing one’s own personal desires and modus Vivendi. The political and legal institutions can intervene and dictate things only when they are realized beyond doubt that a person’s feelings and desires negatively affect certain others and their own personal liberties are at stake. Otherwise all human created institutions must let the human desires and relationships take their own course.
There can be nothing unnatural in nature. Humans are not the dictators of nature but only subordinates to its enormous versatility. Human feelings and desires are to be guided and managed by nature which created it and not by any human created institutions or notions as wrongly perceived by a section of the society. Homosexuality is just a feeling like that of pleasure, grief and agony. As a person is the definitive regulator of his own joy or sorrow, his sexual feelings must also be dictated by him, not by the other outside forces.
Some argue that homosexuality is a ‘modern’ or a ‘western’ notion. Our desires are neither modern nor western; they our own, human. Nobody has the right to question or prohibit anyone’s personal sexual orientations whether they think it modern or western. There must be a space in the human society for everyone without differences about anyone’s way of thinking, personal notions or sexual orientations.
There is an argument that homosexuals deserve sympathy and constitutional protection. This argument, even though it is expressed in a liberal point of view without harming the feelings of those who practice same sex relationships, is faulty as there is no case for a sympathetic attitude to be carefully expressed causing much embarrassment and widespread unwanted attention. Anyone who practices sexual relationships, homosexual or heterosexual, does not need sympathy but surely constitutional protection and what are to be avoided are the strained unfairness, antipathy and prejudice.
To sum up, what we need now is a different way of thinking with no strings attached to it. Different sexual orientations are only a type of human feeling. Criminalizing sexual feelings and discriminating those who practice a variety will only result in improper and immature implementation of ‘humanistic virtues’ and ‘liberal values’ by those who dictate terms in a human society. Sexual aspirations and sexual feelings are not a tool for the political, cultural, religious and legal institutions to be used to ensure their jurisdiction over others. It is a way of self-determination and that is all there is to it.
By Ganesh Hari Prakash