Section 377 of the IPC of 1861 criminalized sexual activities ‘against the order of nature’. People who choose to adopt sexual tendencies ‘against the order of nature’ are bracketed under a community popularly known as LGBT, which hogged the limelight through their struggles seeking recognition as a legal entity and acceptance within a ‘straight’ society. The contentious Section 377, a favorite of puritans, religious communities and Indian culture, is an Achilles heel of the LGBT community. It has been put through rigorous scrutiny in Indian courts, and has been taking a tumultuous legal course down the years in the country.
Three major faiths in India are equally vocal in their stand against bizarre choices people make amounting to those ‘against the order of nature’.
The Bible speaks in no uncertain terms against unnatural sex, and places it atop the list constituting ‘most terrible of sins’. References to the twin cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, which were consumed by fire as punishment for people dwelling therein indulging in unnatural sex are aplenty in the Bible (the term Sodomy, a form of unnatural sex was in fact derived from the city of Sodom, where sodomy was rampant), and in fact form the reference for arguments among Christians against people choosing ‘unnatural sexuality’. A verse which categorically condemn unnatural sexual tendencies reads thus ‘you shall not lie with a man as with a woman; it is an abomination’ (Leviticus 18:22)
Most of the debate on homosexuality within Hinduism is centered on three teachings, and how opponents and proponents of homosexuality interpret these teachings. Opponents of homosexuality argue that romantic love is natural only between a man and a woman, and it is impossible for two men and two women to experience the same form of love. Since romantic love is possible between a man and a woman, sex between two men and two women can only be the product of lust, and lust is wrong; therefore, homosexuality is wrong. One of the three functions of marriage is prajaa, the progeny for perpetuation of one’s family. A homosexual couple cannot procreate, and therefore, cannot marry.
The Quran cites from the story of the people of Lot of the Biblical Old testament times. Homosexual acts are forbidden in traditional Islamic jurisprudence and are liable to various punitive ways including death penalty.
On September 6 2018, the Supreme Court ruled that Section 377’s application to consensual homosexual sex between adults was ‘unconstitutional’. Gay sex was thus legalized. The LGBT community celebrated.
Habitually, the social media made merry. It trolled; “and then the Lordships said: it doesn’t need necessarily be Adam and Eve, it can also be Adam and Steve”! The apparently revolutionary ruling by the apex court somehow does not seem to sit well on Indian culture. It gave green signal to permissiveness and bizarre ‘choices’ people made on matters of their sexuality, often bordering on vagarity. One could argue that it’s the question of personal choices. Of course, it may be. But such a choice somehow does not fit into the scheme of things as they are supposed to be. As they were meant to be. The two traditional genders of animals, including man, the male and the female, were created thus or evolved thus, with a purpose. The females function to bear offspring, deliver and nurse them, while males hunt or earn for food, and protect the ‘weaker’ gender and offsprings, and also partake in procreation through sexual act, aided with specific and intended anatomic, physiologic and emotional endowments. Attempts to trespass them would only create incongruence with the ways of nature, and of course, the culture of a land such as India. ‘Male and female’ are not limited to the animal world. It also finds its place in electrical science. Aren’t electrical plugs and sockets also classified along the two sexes, for different reasons, though!? The stark reality is that, people making skewed choices concerning sexuality do so by trespassing into the grossly unnatural. For, Homo Sapiens were created or evolved as male and female anatomically, physiologically and emotionally, that trespassing this basic reality amounts to grossly being ‘aberrant to nature’, or functioning ‘against the order of nature’. To make things easy for the LGBT community, a vastly advanced and frighteningly expensive modern medical science has successfully transgendered a Radha to Radhakrishnan, Sasi to Sasikala and vice versa. Sexologists seem to be having a field day these days! But the point is, is it really necessary? Why should a society functioning on an accepted culture that repugnate incongruent ‘choices’ aberrant individuals make change its course? Does it contribute to nation building? Does it catalyze India’s march through the twenty second century on the path of development? This doesn’t mean that people who choose skewed sexuality ought to be shot to death. To accept them into the mainstream would take time and a lot from the majority of the citizenry, to whom being ‘straight’ is still the accepted norm.
More pertinently, does it secure the life of ‘straight’ Indian women and girl children? Will it make India a secure haven for the legally ‘straight’ female among her citizens? We, as a nation are increasingly witnessing womanhood being trampled underfoot. Almost daily unbridled and often beastly male chauvinism runs roughshod over a hapless womanhood. In 2012, the Thomson Reuters Foundation ranked India as the worst G20 country in which to be a woman. The 2006 Imrana case and the 1986 Shah Bano case showed Indian womanhood in bad light. 70% of Indian women are victims of domestic violence. The National Crime Records Bureau reveals that a crime is committed against a woman in India every three minutes. A woman is raped in India every 29 minutes. A Dowry death occurs in every 77 minutes. In every nine minutes, an Indian woman suffers cruelty in the hands of her husband or relatives. Female feticide and infanticide abound. Only the other day an elected legislator of the Kerala Assembly called a nun- a rape victim in the hands of a bishop a ‘prostitute’! Instead of more ‘Adams and Steves’, India badly needs better Adams who respect and accommodate Eves who cohabit with them.