12.12.13

The gay vote bank and market

The Supreme Court verdict criminalising acts "against the order of nature" as per Section 377 has led to a most non-nuanced debate. For now, I would only like to talk about how lucrative it is to join the bandwagon for two groups: politicians and product sellers.

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It is no secret that court decisions are not as independent as they appear to be. Parliament passes the laws. There is scope for reprisal. The timing is perfect. The assembly elections have thrown up surprises, with some parties and leaders nursing their wounds. You have a vocal group standing outside the court shouting slogans, weeping, talking about being punished.

Flashback to similar scenes after the Delhi gangrape. What did the political class do? It came out and lent sympathy. It flew the victim to Singapore; it gave her family a house and her sibling a job. It also set up a committee for a more stringent law.

Let us not forget, therefore, that every group is a potential vote bank, especially when the young are being wooed. As has happened earlier, the kangaroo courts are most upset because politicians are now playing their game. Therefore, those who scream in the studios demanding a "statement" have nowhere to look when statements are made. Time for sniggers, when the fact is nothing can happen without political intervention.

Here are the comments of some leaders:

"We are proud that our culture has always been an inclusive and tolerant one... I hope that Parliament will address this issue and uphold the Constitutional guarantee of life and liberty to all citizens of India, including those directly affected by this judgment."
- Sonia Gandhi, Congress President

"We have gone back to 1860. The UPA government will look at all options. The legislative option takes time but I am not ruling it out."

- P Chidambaram, Finance Minister

"It is the prerogative of the Supreme Court if certain thing is right or not. The Supreme Court is the final arbiter. And the opinion of the Supreme Court must be respected by the Government. It is not proper for me to comment on this matter."

- Kapil Sibal, Union Law Minister

"The government has already taken a stand that we need to decriminalise it but now that Supreme Court has said we will look in it."

- Manish Tewari, I&B Minister

"There is a need to understand Supreme Court's verdict. It is not a legal definition. It has put forth this in front of the Parliament. Parliament standing committee on law and order will discuss it."

- Sitaram Yechury, Politburo member, CPI

"At a personal level, I am very disappointed. In this liberal world we live today this is not expected."

- Derek O' Brien, Leader, Trinamool Congress

"I think this requires a lot of discussion (on section 377). Discriminating people who have a certain preference is not right. I think all human beings should be treated equally."

- Mani Shankar Aiyar, Senior leader, Congress

"Questions of morality or religion are not the issue. How can a lifestyle choice be illegal? SC removes red lights for equality yet not #377."

- Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister, J&K

"Parliament must decriminalize homosexuality immediately because this verdict is sending out a very wrong message internationally about where India is heading."

- Milind Deora, IT Minister

"The Supreme Court has urged Parliament to delete Section 377 from the statute book. As an MP, I am strongly in favour of doing so."

- Shashi Tharoor, Human Resources Minister

"Personally, I think it is a retrograde judgement and it has no justice to a modern liberal India. If two consenting men and two consenting women...why should be illegal?"

- Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister

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It does not take long for the marketing guys to find a niche. When a jewellery company decided to celebrate the beauty "two of a kind" with a pair of gold and diamond earrings it became an "aww" (and awe) moment. Tanishq scored big time.

The very people who talked about "privilege" when anyone raised points about their stratified positions completely ignored how this reeked of privilege, of elitism. Who is their target audience, and buyer? Quite obviously, the ones who can afford it or at least think along the lines of such shiny baubles as a message.

Besides, the message is also an assumption that all gay people are the same. Matching-matching. This is bloody privilege.

I don't expect too many questions to be asked because, you see, it is a privilege to stay the course.

© Farzana Versey

2 comments:

  1. I find it suspicious that this verdict was reached just before the elections. I wonder how different political parties will use it to their advantage.

    ReplyDelete
  2. The signs are already there, and not just political groups but several groups.

    ReplyDelete

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