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Recently, controversy erupted when the ‘Ambedkarite Queer’ attendees at the 2024 Mumbai Pride Parade were allegedly barred from chanting “Jai Bhim,” a popular slogan for Dalit liberation and the annihilation of caste. In the light of this missing intersectionality, along with the all-too-familiar hijacking of Pride by corporations professing ‘rainbow capitalism,’ the question arises: where is the soul of Pride today?

While Pride stands as a symbol of celebration of diversity and a fight for equal rights, it has been exploited over the years not only within the realm of capitalism but by political parties in the country, who have been handed over the task to initiate laws for marriage equality by the honourable Supreme Court. India hosts several Pride marches across cities like Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, and many more. However, the history of the Pride march illustrates several obstacles, like police and legal restrictions, all over the country.

Recently, the Pride March conducted in Mumbai on February 3rd, 2024, witnessed bouts of ‘political tokenism’. Altercations were reported between groups that were accused of raising ‘political slogans.’ In reality, it so panned out that individuals who identified themselves as ‘Ambedkarite Queers’ were barred from chanting ‘Jai Bhim’ and their posters of B.R. Ambedkar were snatched by the Pride Volunteers. While Pride is a celebration of the diverse gender spectrum, it is also a battle for equal rights for all. While gender and sexuality sadly pose a barrier in today’s world, individuals also have to surpass other social barriers like caste and religion, depicting the intersectionality of oppression. While Pride aims to propose a ‘safe political space’ for claiming moral individual rights, incidents of such sorts explain the ‘hollowness’ behind its façade of progressivism within the country.

Furthermore, the reading of the Preamble of the Indian Constitution conducted during Mumbai Queer Pride allegedly missed out on the word ‘secular.’ Interesting, sigh. Apologies if this smells of ‘saffronization’ of long-protected social justice spaces as well. Allegedly revoking the word ‘secular’ sadly reeks of an established right-wing government injecting its agendas into what was supposedly a liberal safe space. Nevertheless, members of Mumbai Queer Pride soon after published a public apology on Instagram, citing their “respect to stand with every cause that intersects with Queer lives.”

Much earlier, the 2020 Pride, then scheduled to be held in Mumbai, was cancelled owing to protests related to the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019, squashing the annual celebration of the city’s widespread queer community. Similarly, even Delhi’s Pride Parade, which has been held since 2008, has witnessed over hundreds of police personnel and restrictions in place every year (yes, queer people are ‘too dangerous’ after all).

Indeed, several questions come to mind. Can Pride ever be apolitical? Can the fight for queer rights be fought without taking into account intersectionality? And most importantly, is the liberation of any queer people possible without the liberation of all queer people, intersecting religious, caste, and other social hierarchies?

While the answers seem obscure, Pride Marches was initially conceived with the idea of creating a protected sphere for queer individuals where their individuality is celebrated and their need for fundamental rights amplified while the rest of the world shuns them. Pride today has been tainted with flimsy populist politics, evident from such policing and legalities.

With the 2024 Lok Sabha elections nearing, we flashback to the 2019 elections and the manifesto promises of providing equal footing to the LGBTQ+ community within society with equal opportunities in health, education, and work by all the political parties. While the abrogation of Section 377 served as a major win for LGBTQ+ rights, the ruling party, after coming into power, has since taken scarce measures to ensure a safe space for the community. There has been hardly any legislation for trans inclusivity in employment, health, education, and likewise.

This brings us to another pertinent question: are political parties using the ‘fight for equal rights’ as an ‘agenda’ to gain votes from the youth? Has the soul of Pride been sucked into the circle of ‘vote-bank politics’? A student from Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi, shared their opinion on this matter,

A lot of institutions before electoral processes conduct ‘rainbow representation’ for tokenistic purposes, and even after they get elected, they hardly create any change for the betterment of the community. Pride also witnesses ‘rainbow capitalism’ where organisations are’selling’ queer people while they are intrinsically homophobic or transphobic in their manufacturing purposes or ideologies. It’s tragic and cannot be solved unless the majority from every electoral poll holds MPs and MLAs accountable for providing equal gender rights.

National-level politics, besides capitalism, have exploited the LGBTQ+ community with manifestos that are just fantasy and rainbow-themed products in corporate organisations, while rejecting jobs for any individual who identifies as a part of the community under the garb of a progressive corporate work environment. Several examples can be cited from student politics as well. Pride marches conducted by student political parties, while turning out to be a huge success, get overruled by the spotlight due to how ‘woke’ the political party is. An instance of this can be pointed out in the Pride March conducted by the Student Federation of India (SFI) at the North Campus of Delhi University in 2023. Several gender-rights collectives that were part of the parade claimed that the march was boiled down to an ‘SFI-led event’ with SFI flags overruling the Pride flags. After all, it’s never a fight for equality, but ‘look how progressive our party is’ implying that ‘do not forget to vote for us; elections are just around the corner!’ 

“Pride will always be political,” they say, but moral boundaries between what is an election stunt and a genuinely progressive cause are the need of the hour; otherwise, it plainly delegitimizes the fight of generations. For years, caste oppression, poverty, economic inequality, and a lack of education have been favourite playthings of parties running for elections. But LGBTQ+ rights are now grabbing the spot of the top favourite toy of political parties, which are hell-bent on turning it into another token movement. While social justice movements embedded within the realm of politics are getting fooled by the world of politics itself, is there no way out of this paradox? Is justice, indeed, blind?

The abrogation of Section 377 was never about the liberty of the LGBTQ+ community. It was always tagged as one of the greater ‘achievements’ of the ruling party and the Prime Minister. While ‘taking credit’ remains a societal norm, social justice can hardly prevail in such a society.

As long as same-sex marriage still remains a far-fetched dream in a country of the twenty-first century, it is important to think how many Pride Marches, police restrictions, legal obstacles, political tokenism it will take for justice to prevail and to live equally in this unequal world.

Read Also: Pride, Privilege, Politics: A Third-Year Perspective on Being Queer in DU

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat

Priyanka Mukherjee
[email protected]

As months of anticipation and years of struggle come ostensibly crashing down, here is a moment of reckoning with institutional failures and the road that lies ahead.

10:48 AM on the crispy morning of 17 October, 2023. Groups of students huddle at the back of lecture halls, their eyes or ears fixated on the livestream or latest updates from the Supreme Court’s (SC) judgement on same-sex marriage equality. Nearly 5 months of waiting and 10 days of preceding hearings had led up to this moment. While the expectations going in differed for each individual, I swear we all experienced a collective adrenaline rush in the hours and minutes leading up to it. It is as if the weight of this verdict and the bearing it would have on our fates and futures had suddenly come crashing upon us.

Such is my intent with this piece. I am no queer activist with credit or contribution to the struggle that was fought for this case. Nor am I an expert who can offer insight or add to a conversation that has already been covered much better than I ever could. I am simply a young queer person seeking to memorialise this event in my eyes and those of the people of my age and community. Because if there is anything that queerness has taught me, it is that the power of memory and the power of stories outlive everything.

The pronouncement of the judgement certainly began on a high note, in large part due to the Chief Justice’s words, whose queer-sensitive remarks had been a highlight of the hearings as well. It did not take long, however, for all the hopes and exhilaration to come cascading down, ultimately solidifying as a pit in the stomach as we saw a relatively trusted institution shift the mantle of responsibility to one that few queer people hold faith in. Prakhar, a student who had been closely following the livestream, shared the initial joy he felt in being seen,

While all of this was happening, I was feeling very, very emotional. I was almost about to cry because of how we were being validated and talked about, and the fact that someone at a high level was acknowledging that queerness is not western and that we exist to deserve better. But of course, as the judgement moved on, all of these statements became futile. All the emotions that I was feeling went straight down the drain.

The degree of institutional trust held by the queer community is key to understanding the verdict at hand and the reactions it has elicited. The battle for LGBTQIA+ rights in India has historically found more success in the courts than it has in our legislatures. From the 2014 NALSA judgement to the 2018 decriminalisation of homosexuality, the judiciary of India has upheld the rights and dignity of queer individuals in the face of a cis-heteronormative society whose majority opinion seldom sways in the favour of marginalised groups.

In the case of the queer movement, legal reform has had to precede a social overturning of long-held prejudices. To see an apex institute abdicate itself of the responsibility to initiate such change is disappointing, to say the least. Add to this the Centre’s affidavit in March disapproving of same-sex marriages as something that “would cause a complete havoc with the delicate balance of personal laws in the country and in accepted societal values” and their history of misrepresenting the queer community in legislation such as with the Trans Act 2019, and it is evident why people are calling this verdict the setback that it is.

Not all hope is lost, however. In fact, far from it. In conversation with DU Beat, Yash Sharma, founder of Official Humans of Queer, says,

While this verdict may not grant us all we’re fighting for, it has ignited the flame of determination within us. This newfound resilience will undoubtedly aid us in future battles, whether it’s for marriage equality, horizontal reservations, mental health support, or any other essential rights.

Moments like these also bring out the dire need for queer representation in the leadership and decision-making institutions of our country. Reflecting on the judgement, Gavish from Hindu College Queer Collective says,

The fiasco made me realise how just pressure from our side is not enough, we need more and more queer folks in position of power to change the prevalent conditions. Queer destinies are being determined by people who do not relate to queer issues; hence they are bound to fail.

In my conversations with queer peers, I was saddened yet felt empathetic upon observing great dejectedness and hopelessness among the youth of my age group. Perhaps stemming from the fact that this was our first face-to-face incidence with an institutional failure of this scale, a reaction of hurt and rage is naturally expected. It is in moments like these that I find it crucial to turn to our queer elders and queer history. Georgina Maddox, queer feminist art critic-curator, shares,

The younger generation should not feel defeated or depressed because queer rights have been gotten through fighting. We faced a similar set-back for Section 377 of the IPC that criminalised ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature.’ Similarly, the marriage act for queer couples has to be redefined in gender non-binary manner and re-applied for. We will not give up but continue to struggle till we get our rights.

This should serve as a moment of reckoning. If you are a young queer person, especially one whose intersectional privileges have allowed them to distance themselves from politics and activism, this is your wake-up call. Apoliticism will not bring you queer rights, but channelling the pain and rage into actionable dissent might. As the LGBTQIA+ movement wages on in the country, which side of history will you choose to be on?

Read also: Student Unions and the Queer Community: Authentic Representation or Queer Baiting?

Featured Image Credits: DU Beat Photo Archive

The three P’s of Student Life of DU- Pyaar, Padhai, and Politics are quite diverse topics on their
own. DU isn’t solely about studies, romance, or political life. It is a synthesis of all of them based on personal preferences.


I was reminded by one of my professors that student life is about the three Ps: Pyaar, Padhai, and Politics, with each student finding their own specific niche. The relationship between DU and its students has even more P’s – Parampara, Pratishtha alongside the former three, but what blends the students’ relationship with the varsity is Pain. Pyaar, Padhai, and Politics are three unique aspects of the life of a DU student. These are three chariots leading the students into their own but different pathways.

The academic life of a DU student is two-fold. Thousands and thousands migrate from their cities and states for receiving their degrees from the most prestigious colleges in the country, but only after coming here do they realize that the external perception of the varsity being only about studies is perturbed by the dawn that majority of the students here lose their academic concerns after the 1 st semester. Students come all dressed up, tidy and neat with books equivalent to the weight of a schoolbag, making it into libraries after regular classes in the freshman year. Then there are also the students who’ve enrolled themselves into a bunch of societies exude all strengths of their bodies and minds, but still turn up to class. Another section straightaway starts going places, exploring the newfound freedom barely showing up to their professors. Slowly as the years pass, classrooms get more empty, and similar to how folks shed their tidy clothes to fit into comfy Pajamas, the Society kids lose their balls of energy to attend classes after hectic running around, practicing, etc tasks. Even the studious UPSC aspirants start skipping college to attend coaching and self-study. Honestly, their stance makes sense as well. Once I eavesdropped on a conversation between two guys in my PG. One was saying, “You know, the real experience of college life comes from having new experiences, not from the routine existence of waking up at 8 in the morning to coming back at 4ish.”

As for examinations, ( most) DU Students don’t study every day but only before the exams. And the outcomes are not that bad, some even went on to be Gold Medalists in the past. It doesn’t mean people don’t study at all. Academics is what generally isn’t preferred much here. People strive to finish analyzing what topic they’re interested in.

Pyaar” is another aspect that often lingers in discussions about college life. Especially at DU having places like “Lovers Spot” nurtures the cocooned new romantics inside students. The cycle of breaking free from strict authority at home, fuelled by unrealistic expectations from movies, especially Bollywood, creates musings for the new romantics. Also, college is the closest equivalent to the perfect American high school dream for Indian students. Many do find love here, many break up, and some even make it beyond the boundaries of graduation. Most importantly, it is more of a realization that the perfect fairytale love story is next to uncommon in real life and that relationships do require effort, work, space, and understanding (The Katy Perry Way).

When I was a little girl I used to read fairy tales. In fairy tales, you meet Prince Charming and he’s everything you ever wanted. In fairy tales, the bad guy is very easy to spot. The bad guy is always wearing a black cape so you always know who he is. Then you grow up and you realize that Prince Charming is not as easy to find as you thought. You realize the bad guy is not wearing a black cape and he’s not easy to spot; he’s really funny, and he makes you laugh, and he has perfect hair.

Taylor Swift

 

During my first month in Delhi, an acquaintance of mine said, “Being in a relationship helps fill the void of loneliness and mechanical busyness of life here.” Everyone has a different perspective on love. Clearly, if it’s positive for you, then go for it. But immature relationships often culminate into a lot of hurts when combated.

College politics of DU is a topic of interest, fear, hesitation, and passion for many. The first place
where students get the opportunity to explore their political self to those who come solely for political purposes, assuming positions of power and battling ideologies. Staging protests and raising concerns, is regarded as a vital stage of vigilance by them. There are again people who have ideologies and views on national concerns but do not like to muddle in violent politics for the same. Protesting against unjust and unfair steps taken by the administration, and violence faced by students, this is an essential cry for justice, but not everyone is motivated by the love of justice. Some use these topics as matters of splattering mud over others and clout chasing.

The politics of DU is messy, complicated with unknown motivations and often takes over the education and academics of DU. The threat to being neutral is a lingering question that is quite
debatable. Often, peaceful protests turn into rigorous ones. Even a small infiltration leads to a huge mess—the involvement of cops, media, etc. But for a good cause, it exposes the faulty administration oftentimes. And then there is election politics wherein candidates go to unmeasured lengths to appear as a whitewashed version of the perfect one. The unfiltered side is often motivated by the lust for power, a really positive element turned negative.

The three aspects of student life at DU aren’t completely negative or positive and one isn’t superior to the other. There is a fourth P that lingers around all the former P’s. That is – Pain. The pain of attending classes and juggling societies, the pain of cramming before exams, of assignment
heartbreak pain, the pain of political failure, etc. Student life is about extracting the best lessons out of these.

 

Read Also :Romanticising Short Term Romance and Friendships

Featured Image Credits: Medium

 

Hritwik Pratim Kalyan

[email protected]

This June, remember to hold onto your anger and pain as you set out to celebrate your pride. Pride was, never a celebration alone to begin with. It was and will always, remain a fierce riot.

When I joined DU Beat, I was a lost correspondent with too many opinions on Netflix and zero knowledge about graphics ideation. But one thing I knew for sure was that I wished to write stories rooted in my immediate cultural experiences. Stories about people. Stories about students. Stories about queerness.

I never viewed queerness as something that was associated with a sexual identity but rather as something that served as a deviation from a set norm. Queering of narratives, discourses, readings and even something like non-linear documentation of time always interested me. As a marginal figure in my most immediate circles while growing up, I felt the need to understand and by extension empathise with anything that occupied a position of marginality around us.

Ever since I stepped foot into DU, I realised that there are hardly any places more queer than those afforded by educational spaces – where marginal social identities offset hundreds of students from the larger crowd of normal adherence. And such varsity spaces become intersectional convergence points for glorious bonhomie – and sometimes sites of extreme cruelty. Taking pride in visiblising intersectional identities in university spaces like ours are more often than not the share of a privileged few – their economic and social position allowing them affordances most are denied. The same identity that becomes the pride of a select few – comes at a cost for others. For most people of such social minority identities, making common knowledge of your lower caste identity comes at the cost of having your narrative being baited by upper caste saviours, your gender identity becomes a double edged sword in your path of progress and your sexuality a constant site of speculation and amusement for those around you.

But amidst the pride colours, pride watchlists and other glittery extravaganza is the overlooked loneliness of growing up queer. To survive a childhood of conflict with your truest point of self-identification, knowing that perhaps the biggest truth about you will always be held as a questioned truth by those around you and eventually coming to a city this big and finding yourself lost amidst a sea of unknown faces – each presenting to you hierarchies of power previously unknown to you. You are immediately swept into a whirlwind of heterosexual college romances, and your heart yearns for that singular same-sex romance that you only see in your annual token queer Netflix romantic comedy and before you know it you have set sail on the flood-prone waves of the hookup culture. Eventually your life is a string of making your way from one bed to another, from looking for ‘spots’ and asking for ‘places’.

But every year in June, corporations and allies around you urge you to forget this language of heartbreak and make you drown in their definition of a glitzy celebration of queerness. To all those queer souls lost this Pride month – to you I say, remember Pride began as a protest, a riot to be precise. Take the anger in your heart and hold onto it – for being queer comes at great pain of surviving a staunchly heterosexual society. To all the allies planning your next pride march, make sure to administer a consensual hug to the next queer you meet this month – queerness is a struggle with loneliness and for all your good intent some loneliness of the self that will take this community an entire life to overcome.

Anwesh Banerjee

[email protected]

 

What if your options did not have to be between queer ally or queerphobia? What if your options could rather be between flawed and flawed?


TW: Queerphobia

“It is only a pollution instigated by the West!” or “This goes against Indian sabhyata!” are just some of the things you might have heard when the discussion approaches queerness— in any shape and form; statements, that more often than not, have come to become the defensive pedestal of the right-wing, hetero-patriarchal ideology of modern India. But to what extent can it be considered the gospel truth (minus, of course, all the homophobic sub-text)? 

From vows of celibacy going hand-in-hand with intimate same-sex friendships, to rebirth in different gender forms, or sex change and the existence of gender fluidity— accounts from ancient India might have been somewhat successful in pulling a thin curtain over the Indian queer reality but that doesn’t make India devoid of queer representation. Mahabharata with its story of Shikhandini or Shikandi, King Bhagiratha with his two mothers, the story of Babur and Baburi, or the existence of an Indianized version of Achilles and Patroclus found in the walls of the Jamali Kamali tomb, all points far away from the fact that India’s “sabhyata” might have only existed in gender binaries.

But that doesn’t mean that living in ancient India as a queer person was a bed of roses; It also had its own share of thorns. With extremes like depictions of same-sex intimate interactions being largely confined to Rakshasas (a literal demonisation of queer identities) to Manu smriti listing a range of quixotic punishments for homosexual men and women, the relation between queerness and Indian history isn’t much less of a Pandora’s box— it might seem all bright and rainbow-coloured from outside but the real horrors only come through when the box finally lies open in your hands. 

So, does that mean that all those statements made under the veil of nationalism and rightist ideologies are true? Does it mean that phrases stringed together in hatred and queerphobia are what we need to fall back to?

When the landmark Article 377 verdict was given by the Supreme Court, Rajya Sabha MP Subramaniam Swamy took to telling news channels how “homosexuality is a genetic flaw”. This was the same person who had earlier told the media that “being gay is against Hindutva” and it needs a cure (Source: moneycontrol.com). But couldn’t that easily be just one person’s point of view out of a few hundred? Or is that something only said because the queer community happens to be a huge vote bank nobody wants to lose out on?

It is true that the British came to India and brought something in this regard with them; just that the something wasn’t the reality of queerness but, in contrast, the institutionalisation of queerphobia with the Vatican’s puritanical ideology finding its echo in the anti-sodomy law, something that did not leave India even when the Britishers did.

These two sides of a coin that exist when talks of queer identity travel through the air of India—in whispers or in free cries, in solidarity or in phobia — are as flawed as they are pure. Two rotting but shiny sides,  existing as an anomaly in oxymorons, leave you with only one outcome, however impossible: the coin landing on its edge, the coin landing on neither. 

 

Feature Image: economictimes.indiatimes.com

 

Manasvi Kadian

[email protected]

Three years since the decriminalisation of Section 377, and the Indian Queer community continues to be on the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination. But with compulsory heterosexuality being guzzled down everyone’s throat, and the archaic patrolling of the borders of sexuality and gender identity, are we really surprised?

TW: mention of suicide, homophobia, conversion therapy

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an Indian family deep in the trenches of society, will forever be plagued by the longstanding preoccupation of “log kya kahenge?” Miss Austen’s wordy prose aside, you would have to be an extremely lucky individual if you have somehow managed to escape this cultural obsession with propriety. It is hard to escape, impossible even for some.

And yet for others, it is an obsession that is oftentimes deadly. Last year, a queer woman from Kerala died of suicide after being forcefully subjected to conversion therapy. Two years before that, a lesbian couple died of suicide after being shunned by the world for their love. “We are leaving this world to live with each other. The world did not allow us to stay together,” is what their last words were, courtesy of a note that they left.

Social movements in India, like the feminist movement, have to a larger extent, been able to establish some legitimacy amongst the Indian public because of collective pressure on political authorities by these groups.

In comparison, the queer movement has struggled to gain the same form of legitimacy in society. A lesser number of people are willing to advocate for queer concerns or publicly identify as queer and advocate for queer activism. And in most cases, we can safely attribute this silence to the Indian social attitude towards sexuality and gender identity. This rigorous and despotic policing of the borders of “normal sexuality” means that fears of many kinds are commonplace in the lives of people under the rubric of queer. This, coupled with intersectionality, makes the lives of many queer people cramped with fear and shame, reflective of societal sentiments.

“Talk more about it!” or “Be vocal about your problems!” It is easy to ask people to advocate more outrageously about their issues when your own head isn’t on the chopping board. And when talks of queerness in the conventional Indian setup are centred around pathological and criminological perspectives- around conversion therapies and social isolation- with what right would we dare ask the queer community to self-identify?

How can we blame them, when parents value their social standing in a stunted and backward society more than their children’s happiness?

Perhaps I am merely parroting what you have already read in hundreds of articles. Or perhaps this might lead to a belated cognizance within many. But your allyship to the queer community

means nothing when it is practised only in a safe space. Your threads about queer subtext in Indian mythology are useless unless you’re willing to take them beyond your Twitterverse. This society is more brutal than what we perceive, discussing issues at large while sitting at the dinner table with people who think the same as us. What’s the use? They already know. It’s time to move past them.

Read Also: E-Newspaper – Volume 15 Issue 01 (Pride Edition)

Shreya Juyal

[email protected] 

It is a common misconception held by many that India has been the land of only sages and peers who composed and studied mythological texts and stories. But, on the contrary, the historic Indian civilization has had a very vibrant and comprehensive tradition of science and technology since ancient times.

As historian James Grant Duff once wrote- “Many of the advances in the sciences that we consider today to have been made in Europe were in fact made in India centuries ago.” It is true India was a land of sages and priests, but what is also important to acknowledge is that they doubled up as great thinkers and scientists too. Almost all the prime aspects of human knowledge like Mathematics, Astronomy, Physics, Chemistry, and the practical procedures in which this knowledge was put in practice like surgery, architecture, shipbuilding, etc were covered in great detail by science and technology prevalent in ancient India. Intrinsic fundamental principles of modern sciences have been provided a foundation by the numerous postulates and scientific methods discovered by the Avant garde ancient Indians. While some of these important contributions have been acknowledged, there are many that remain unknown. Here are some ancient Indian contributions in the field of science and technology:

1. The Binary Numerical System

Binary numbers that are used as a language to write computer programmes are basically a set of two numbers- 1 and 0 called Bits and Bytes respectively. They were mentioned by Pingala in his work “Chandah??stra”, a treatise on prosody. Pingala is credited with using binary numbers in the form of short and long syllables, a notation similar to Morse code.

2. The Concept Of Zero

The Indian contribution in introducing the concept of Zero is relatively well known. It was formulated by the mathematician Aryabhatta. This invention is of great importance as it enables one to write numbers no matter how large, by adding zeroes at the end. A. L. Basham, an Australian Indologist writes- “…The world owes most to India in the realm of mathematics..”

3. Theory Of Atom

Famous English chemist, John Dalton is now credited with the development of the atomic theory. However, a theory of the atom was formulated centuries ago by Indian sage Acharya Kanad who speculated the existence of small, indestructible particles called “Anu” strikingly similar to an Atom.

4. Plastic Surgery and Cataract Surgery

Ancient Indian physician, Sushruta had composed in the 6th century BCE, the Sushruta Samhita – one of the mostdetailed books on surgery which mentioned complex techniques of plastic surgery like Rhinoplasty as well as surgery to cure cataract amongst thousands of other procedures and medicines to cure illnesses.

5. Heliocentric Theory

Aryabhatta, the man credited with discovering 0 (zero) had also made other contributions to the field of science like propounding the curvature of the Earth as well as the fact that it rotates on its own axis around the sun. The mathematical genius also made predictions of solar and lunar eclipses, the duration of a day as well as the distance between the celestial bodies of the Earth and Moon.

6. Theory of Gravity

When we think about the concept of gravity, most of us may be aware of the story of how Issac Newton was inspired to formulate the “Universal Law Of Gravitation” when an apple fell from the tree he was sitting under. The world believes that gravity was discovered by Newton, however ancient Indians knew of gravity way before him. India’s familiarity with gravity began with Varahamihira (505-587 CE), an Astronomer who thought of the concept of gravity. He claimed that there must be a force which might be keeping bodies stuck to the Earth, keeping heavenly bodies at specific places.

Feature Image Credits: i Am Healthcare

Abhinandan Kaul

[email protected]

Attachment, fondness, or desire? Let us try looking at love from different perspectives. Let’s attempt to define love. 

Defining Love Graphic Aishwaryaa

 

Graphic Image Credits: Aishwaryaa Kunwar for DU Beat

Graphic Image Caption:  Definition of Love according to dictionaries.

In school years, love was a feeling when nothing else mattered. With no real experience to this point, it was often just an attraction. That one glance from someone you loved, had the capacity to make your day. Looking back at it as an adult, now, you may find it amusing. But you know how it felt back then. Growing up you realize that it can be more than just a feeling. You discover desires and expectations through one or many ‘real’ relationships. You might have mistaken the feeling of falling in love with the action of losing yourself to someone. As we grow old, we start defining the feeling according to our own convenience. We decide when it’s love and when it’s not.

Celebrated as the day of love and expression, Valentine’s Day, for the longest time was only about the cis-gender. It would ostracize different identities, pushing unnecessary gender norms. Of course, not anymore. Couples are now celebrated with more diversity across the spectrum. Female friendships and relationship independence are popularly celebrated as Galantine’s Day. Love is a choice, but alongside all the social emphasis on romantic and sexual relationships, we alienate the space for aromantic and asexual people – who don’t experience any such attraction. While we de-centre heteronormativity from our idea of what love should look like, we consider romance and sex as obligatory.

When it comes to ways that human beings can experience love, we forget the incredible amount of diversity that exists. Individuals who identify themselves as aromantic or asexual do not experience romantic or sexual affinity respectively. This is widely misunderstood, given the lack of media representation, ignorance of people, and invisibility from forums like sex education.

A Delhi University student on the assurance of anonymity, says, “My sister is apparently ‘woke’. She would often talk about being ‘out and proud’. But when I came out to her, I was told that I haven’t found the right person yet and that eventually, I would come around to the idea of sex and romance, of course, irrespective of gender.”

“So, what if I’m aromantic, I still get attracted to people if they look good or we share something in common – music or movies. It is rather platonic, she says.

Talking about platonic love, Priyanshi, a second-year media student, says, “As a third-grader, I remember wishing my teacher a Happy Valentine’s Day and she had scolded me. I thought about what was wrong with that; I just wished someone I loved. Instead, she asked me to not engage in any such nonsense.”

Love can be redefined as admiration towards someone may be because of common interests or emotional connection. People who get along have an understanding between themselves opening ways to the many facets of human experience. Why limit it to just attraction? All relationships and experience are worth celebrating.

Open your minds to accepting and creating new definitions of love. Do not let outdated tropes constrain your understanding of what love looks like.

 

Aishwaryaa Kunwar [email protected]

A look at how caste and class privilege is still prevalent in the LGBTQI+ Movement in India and how accessible it is to all sections of society.

The LGBTQIA+ movement has taken great strides in India in the form of awareness and rights. An example of how this movement has succeeded is the Supreme Court ruling that Section 377 of the IPC as unconstitutional on 6th September 2018. On the 26th of November 2019, the movement has suffered a setback in the form of the Rajya Sabha passing the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill which is regressive for the Trans community and a step backward for the movement in the country. The question that arises is.  Does the LGBTQIA+ movement consider intersectionalities within the movement or, Does it cater only to certain privileged classes within big cities and still remain inaccessible to people from marginalized communities such as Dalits and Muslims.

The true essence of a movement should lie in fighting for the people within it. An example of this can be seen from an excerpt from Hasratein: A Queer Collective’s latest statement urging action against the Trans Bill during the Pride Parade. “This Pride is not a party, it’s a fight. It’s a brawl in a bar that ends with a brick thrown on the head of a cop. It sparks a revolution. It is for the trans community. Only when this atrocious bill is defeated, do we celebrate. Join us in our rage at Delhi Queer Pride to continue our resistance against this fascist state.”

A noticeable aspect of the pride parade and the LGBTQI+ movement is the ignorance of intersectionality. Rishi Raj Vyas, a Dalit queer activist when talking about the Pride Parade says “When we were at Pride, they did not let us raise the flag of Babasaheb Ambedkar saying that Pride is only for LGBTQ people, thus denying access to queer Dalit and queer Muslim people. So, we need to have more intersectional spaces for queer individuals from different caste and class backgrounds and yes, we need to educate people, especially queer people about struggles of people of class and people of caste”

Yameena, a student of sociology from Miranda House, University of Delhi says “The LGBTQIA+ movement in India has the tendency of excluding Muslims and Dalits. It’s often a result of the inherent islamophobia and casteism of the Savarna queers. It’s also important to look at the issue from a socio-political dimension.”

It is a very important point to consider that the accessibility of these movements for different castes and classes within India is still next to none. Prachi, a student of IPCW says “Coming from a very privileged place, it was very hard for me to remember any Muslim or Dalit queer person I know or have met in real life. the Muslim or Dalit people I know are not publicly out to the world because we live in a very Hindu dominated society and this society is not at all safe for them.”

It is time to recognize that privilege does exist within the sphere of the LGBTQIA+ movement in this country, and while it might take steps forward, the overall effort will be fruitless if the many different socio-political factors within the movement and its intersectionalities aren’t recognized. There is a need to examine and introspect how this movement and all the positives within it can reach and incorporate all sections of society.

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat

Prabhanu Kumar Das

[email protected]

In response to Pride celebrations, a reactionary movement has sprung up to “reclaim” space for the black and white of heterosexuality amid rainbow hues.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
Queer+ (LGBTQ+) community has
only recently garnered widespread
acceptance with the advent of increased
representation, favourable leaps in
legislative matters, and a heightening
of social awareness, which were
achieved after arduous struggles by the
marginalised community. The concept
of Pride in queer context implies the
promotion of self-affirmation, equality,
and dignity within individuals with a non-
binary sexual identity, a remembrance of
the bigotry (still) faced by the community,
and a celebration of the strides made.
Pride events like parades, festivals,
marches, and formation of queer
collective aim to normalise homosexuality
in the face of the tyrannising
heteronormative binary. Pride is also
quite a revolutionary concept that has
emboldened a community to embrace
their identity, which, earlier they had
to veil with a monochromatic shroud.
The conspicuous and colourful nature of
these celebrations reflects the collective
coming-out of the long-closeted
community into the mainstream.
Most Pride events happen annually
during June, which has been instated
as “Pride Month” to commemorate the
New York Stonewall Inn Riots of 1969 –
the first robust act of resistance against
a repressive administration. This year
witnessed the 50th anniversary of this
pivotal moment of the gay liberation
movement. Queer representation hit
the peak of main(lame)-stream with the
release of Taylor Swift’s kind of excessive,
kind of stereotypical, yet allegedly well-
intended “gay” music video, You Need to
Calm Down.
In India, on 6th September, the first anniversary of the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexual intercourse, was celebrated with great fervour across the University of Delhi (DU) in various institutions. Kamala Nehru College, in collaboration with Nazariya, a queer, feminist resource group, organised a Pride event in their college. Lady Shri Ram College observed a hearty affair as well, with a queer-themed open mic, and a Pride party, followed by a Pride march organised by the college’s Women’s Development Cell. Throughout the North and the South Campus, a galore of Pride celebrations with a multitude of Pride flags, representing the multitudinous sexuality spectrum were fluttering through, strewn across streets, sewn into outfits, and painted on faces.
However, the ostensible nature of these celebrations, going in full-swing irked the likes of a few. A reactionary movement to reclaim the allegedly tarnished pride of heterosexuals, given the increased homosexual social movement, sprang up. Boston, and Massachusetts observed a Straight Pride Parade on 31st August. The organisers, who hold ties with the extreme-right movement in America, justified the event by accusing the identity politics of the left and calling for greater representation for straight people.

An elementary school in Mumbai, which goes by the name of Sanskriti School, joined in on the fad and insisted upon a Straight Pride Parade. An Instagram handle was made to perpetuate the novel idea but it can no longer be found on Instagram, reportedly owing to the negative feedback it received from the community on Instagram.
The Straight Pride Movement is not an idea in its nascence, and can be traced back to the 1980s, but something is to be said about its fledgling popularity. Even though both the aforementioned efforts were dwarfed by counter-protesters, they still gained traction and were valid enough for a few to latch on to it. This reveals the fragility of a small group of heterosexuals who feel insecure and attacked by the growing acceptance of a long-ostracised community.
Pride is a resistive, cultural movement with a lot of history, gravitas, and significance for the LGBTQ+ community, which is being undermined by such reactionary, shallow ventures. It is rightly said, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

Feature Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur for DU Beat

Prisha Saxena
[email protected]