Dear Supreme Court,
I neither know nor care much about your legal mandate or how your hands might be tied in times of saffron politics but I can only hope you rise above personal misconception and find in your hearts the compassion to let people love because love is oh so powerful. So it’s about time we say goodbye to another colonial hangover- IPC 377, a law not made by elected representatives of free India but a law carried forward from our former rulers, who far too long ago corrected their historical blunder in their own country. So, tomorrow, February 2nd as you hear the Curative Petition, will you do the right thing Supreme Court?
I write today not with hope but a bit of anger and a bit of desperation. We all know deep in our hearts that Section 377 which criminalises homosexuality has no place in today’s India, because in the land of Gandhi, hate and prejudice have no place. Are we truly free if in independent India, colonial laws like IPC 377 govern our collective conscience? If our laws reek of prejudice and hatred do we stand true to principles of fundamental rights, the true spirit of which was to treat each and every human being in the land of free India as equal? Are we truly equal if our laws see us differently? As an apex institution can you not find in your own history the courage to rise above popular misconception and do the right thing? Please don’t disregard us by calling us ‘unnatural’ or ‘minuscule’. We’re not minuscule. We’re everywhere but sadly you don’t look inside those closets too often, do you? You don’t know how many people live troubled lives and you don’t know how many souls you have crushed, how many souls we all have crushed. In the world’s largest democracy is the world’s largest closet. But would you care?
The real question in front of the Supreme Court is really just this- Can we not find in our hearts the compassion to let people love and be happy? Are our hearts so small that we can’t see people seek happiness in their most primitive and natural selves? Are our hearts so small that we can’t find the courage to let love win and set the course of history right? When history will be written, which side of it would you want to be on? The side that let love flourish or the side that crushed and repressed true happiness? A hundred years down the line, would you want to be remembered as an institution that did injustice or as one that corrected the errors of human prejudice? One that realised that a law cannot govern who people love or how they express themselves.
So tell me Supreme Court, is it so hard to let people love? Have you not even once in your lives felt the power of love? Love cannot hurt anyone, Supreme Court. Love breeds love, and hatred breeds hatred. So what is it going to be? What different would you be from Khap Panchayats that sentence couples to death because they dared to love? What different would you be from our colonial oppressors who enslaved people in their tyranny? Why enslave people in a law that still haunts millions in this country? A 17 year old boy in Agra set himself on fire because he was bullied for being gay and he was so embarrassed that he gave up. How many more young souls do we need to set ablaze for us to realise it’s okay to let people love? How many times must we be reduced to jokes and ridicules of others before we realise how badly we’ve messed up. Our movies, our songs often demonstrate the power of love, so why can’t the constitution of free India demonstrate the same? What good is a religion that preaches hatred? What good is any religion that can’t let people seek happiness in being themselves, being how God intended them to be?
So in the words of a song to which 33 couples got married on the stage of Grammy Awards 2014-
“A certificate on paper isn’t gonna change it all
But it’s a damn good place to start,
No law is gonna change us
We have to change us
Whatever God you believe in
We come from the same one
Strip away the fear,
Underneath it’s all the same love”