Friday, September 15, 2006

Cultural Camp

India continues to baffle--it’s perhaps the only country in the world to offer passport applicants the choice of three sex options (M/ F/ E), yet section 377 of the IPC treats consensual homosexuality on par with pedophilia and bestiality.

So this report of a petition to decriminalize homosexuality in India is highly welcome. The petition appears to be cleverly couched in terms of a public health issue--on the DL homosexuality is largely seen as responsible for India’s AIDS crisis. And then it sneaks in a crucial cultural argument:

Activists point out that the [anti homosexuality] legislation was introduced by the British colonial authorities and does not reflect ancient Hindu cultural values. The Hindu epics reveal a tolerant approach to homosexuality, and the stone carvings on the temples of Khajuraho show men having sex with men.

I wonder if the full text of the petition is available online and if there’s an active signature campaign.

UPDATE: If the link in the IHT article doesn't work for you (didn't for me) you can find the text of the letter along with Amartya Sen's endorsement here.

2 comments:

pied piper said...

Actually, Maya, the article to which you link also links to the letter....

maya said...

Thanks, Piper...

But it won't open for me :/