Intelligentsia

LGBT: Then and Now

Homosexuality has been defined as romantic inclination and attraction of a person towards a member of the same sex or gender. In some parts of the world, homosexuality has been accepted by members of the society, but the same cannot be said in India, where it is still a taboo. It is believed in many cultures and religions that homosexuality goes against the norms of nature and therefore cannot be accepted. To make matters worse, the legal stand in India when it comes to homosexuality is negative as well, given that it has been criminalized under the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

Historically speaking, there have been incidences of homosexual relationships through various periods. For e.g. during the Ming Dynasty was prevalent in China, in some parts, females would bind themselves to other females through contracts in elaborate ceremonies. Similarly, in 1061, a same sex marriage between Pedro Diaz and Muno Vandilaz, two men, took place in Spain. The documents of this church wedding can be seen at the Monastery of San Salvadore de Celanova.

Since the 20th and 21st century, same sex marriages have been legalized in 11 European countries, including Belgium, Norway, Portugal, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, etc. Finland is in the process of passing a legislation that will leagalize same sex marriages.

In the recent case of Obergefell v. Hodges in the USA, the Court held that marriage as a fundamental right was guaranteed to even the same sex couples.

The hope for all the homosexual couples in India is a little bleak. But no, all is not lost. We will still hold on to what we hope and try to keep believing that a change will come and those in love won’t have to hide away.

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One for the Environment

The planet Earth has had a long life, 4.5 billion years to be exact. And life on Earth originated around 3.8 billion years ago, at which point it was single celled organisms such as bacteria. Multi cellular life evolved a billion years later and the life forms that we are now familiar with, have only come to exist over the last 570 million years. Mammals, a life form that we as humans form a part of came into existence 200 million years ago. As for us specifically, the Homo sapiens, came around 200,000 years ago. So if you were to do the math, humans have only been on Earth for a tiny 0.004% of its history.

So what’s the point of discussing this? After all, we are here and we will continue to be here, right?

No. In fact, if we continue in our current form, life won’t stay the way it is right now for much longer. The fact is that in our existence of a mere 0.004% of the whole time, we have managed to bring Earth to an all time low. Starting from climate change, to depleted natural resources and all the way to over population and large scale deforestation, humans are destroying earth, on an hourly basis.

Yes, practically everything we do is capable of making matters worse for the planet. However, carefully calculated measures can reduce the impact significantly. The year 2016 saw temperatures going higher than ever recorded.

Now for a look at India. The Biennial Update Report from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the energy sector in India which consists of manufacturing, electricity and transportation amongst other things, comprises of 71 percent of the Green House Gas emissions.

The climate change has already manifested itself in the form of delayed and lower rainfalls in various parts of the country. The food production is at a low and not anywhere close to being enough to feed the overly hungry of our over populated country.

My point is, that it is time that we stopped taking the environment for granted and started taking measures to improve conditions. And these are measures that need to be taken by individuals and government alike. The problem is that the ordinary people expect government to work on this and the government expects the people to do things on a personal level. This however, will not work. What is needed is a joint effort wherein both people and the government work together; Government designing plans and schemes, ones that work, and people working on these plans and schemes for real, rather than just claiming to, while doing nothing so much for real.

So this World Environment Day, let’s try and make a difference to the world.

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The Hypocrite Zone

The Indian political scene will always be a conversation starter in every household. When face painted bahus and katharnak sasumas fail to amuse, one flicks the channel to the loud, wrathful tones of Arnab Goswami and the puffy, red faced politicians sharing screen space with him. The Government did this. The Government did that. Inflation, the nation’s worsening state, corruption, economy, religion, poor infrastructure and your husband’s infidelity- it’s all the government’s fault.

We, as a nation, exist today in a state of lazy restlessness. We are ready for the world to change, we are eager to see those money eating bastards go to jail already, ready to shout slogans and gather in hordes and skip work but we are not ready to get off the couch to contribute two hours to social welfare, not ready to give money to those who need it and not ready to fight harder than the next man. What’s the point? The government’s got machinery and people for that kind of extra-occupational matters. We’ve got to work hard and get a job and make money, money, money. Paise seh duniya chalti hai bhai. Aaj kal bhalayi ka zamana kaha? Itna hi shauk hain to jayoh na Benaras, pahan lo lungi aur ban jayo saadu.

India is a developing country. India is the fastest growing economy in the world after China and India’s got one of the largest armies on the planet. India is also a country of mediocre men who only preach hypocrisy and judgment and religious intolerance. The decent sort tend to run away to other countries.

Isn’t it time to look beyond the little universes we’ve built around us? Isn’t it time to burst the bubble? Isn’t it time to mean what we say and stand by what we believe?

So next time you’re sitting in the car and eating oranges, stop your friend from throwing the peels outside on the sidewalk like his father is the Maharaja of Hindustan. Don’t urinate out in the public. Be kind to your country.

Start small. But do start, nonetheless. Don’t just sit. For god’s sake, don’t just sit there.

And oh, I nearly forgot. Stop blaming the government.

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In response to Kanhaiya Kumar’s Non-Existent Solutions

The issue of JNU has brought with it several videos that talk about gaining independence at whatever cost. Yes, there is a lack of clarity in some videos and claims have been made that these videos are actually fake. The point is that a thing can’t be completely fake. Something must have happened. We may not know exactly what has happened, but something has to have happened to form a base for claims like the ones that have been made.

Kanhaiya Kumar has said that he wants freedom, and he specifically says that he wants freedom in the country, not from the country. He says that he wants freedom from Caste and other differences. How is it that even after almost 69 years of independence and 66 years after enactment of a Constitution that provides for equality and protects from Discrimination, that we still have these differences? Perhaps because the differences in society, whether in terms of caste, religion or economy are so deeply engrained into us that we absolutely refuse to accept that all of us are equal and same.

Freedom in the country means we stay united and don’t get divided in any way. We have fought our battle for freedom before. And the times we failed before finally achieving success was because of our differentiation. Because we as a society were divided by our religion, we attained independence a lot later than we could have. Our differences and unwillingness to let go of these differences have already cause us agony before, and yet we continue to let that happen.

Yes, we are still divided in a lot of way. Let me speak of the most visible difference with regard to Kanhaiya Kumar and his beliefs. He is a political leader, isn’t he? My friends, isn’t politics the one thing that divides us as a society the most if you ignore the caste and religious differences? Politics in institutions has been the ruin of the people of that institution. Institutional politics sets the students against one another.

He says that he wants freedom of Speech and Expression. Well and good. But I have a question. Isn’t a boy using his freedom of speech when he eve teases a girl and uses vulgar language for her? When a person abuses someone, that is freedom of speech and expression for him, isn’t it? Everybody has a right to practice their freedom, but does that mean they do it however they want using whatever terminology suits them? Limitations need to be set for everything to ensure a responsible and sensible population. When one stands on a stage, talking to people, one holds a position of power and one has to sensible here. One can’t stand on a stage and insult the Prime Minister, a man who has been elected by the people. One can’t make fun of this man who is, after all, the people’s representative. That’s how he was elected to be the Prime Minister, wasn’t he, through the votes people cast? It’s called the Representation of People’s Act for a reason. And doing this, making fun of the Prime Minister on stage, is equivalent to making fun of your country, and that is not freedom of speech.

A politician asking for JNU to be shut down for 4 months because of anti-national activities in the campus, and Kanhaiya Kumar defaming the army for an incident of rape by two soldiers in Kashmir, is the same. Anti-national doesn’t just mean yelling slogans against your country. Anti-national is also just the same as insulting your Prime Minister and therefore your own country on a stage where you hold a position of Power. Kanhaiya Kumar talks about how he wants change in the country. I ask him, do you have a solution to the problems? Everybody demands change, but being a student leader, do you have any solutions for bringing about this change you so desperately want to see? Yes, Farmers are dying, soldiers and officers are dying, but what solution do you have to prevent all this. Kanhaiya Kumar has defamed the army. Does he not realize that quite a few members of the army are pass-outs of his college? So when he calls these people rapists, isn’t he creating a tag for the people of his own college?

Kanhaiya Kumar has conveniently forgotten that it is this very army that he is defaming, that guards the border day in and day out, all day and all night. If we sleep in our beds at night, not worried abut perishing in war, it is because of this army and it’s dedicated soldiers and officers, who sacrifice everything for our safety. Whenever there is a disaster, be it the Uttarakhand cloud Burst, Kashmir Flood, Haryana Jat protests, everywhere, it is the army that steps in to get things back in control. Is this how you repay these gallant men who put everything on the line for us ordinary people? I don’t know what’s more sad, your display of ungratefulness or them sacrificing their lives for ungrateful people like you.

We urge him to find actual solutions to the problems he is so opposed to. Simply asking for change is not enough, you need to work for it too, you need to make strategies for it too. You are a student leader and have a hoard of students to support you. We urge you to better utilize the resources you have. Because what you’re doing now, Making anti-national statements and defaming the army is the wrong way to affect change.

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