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December 04, 2005

INDIA: FIGHTING TO DECRIMINALIZE HOMOSEXUALITY

One hears very little in this country about the fight to make Ashok_row_kavi homosexual relations legal in India -- the world's second most populous country with over 1.1 Billion people -- but this struggle is the subject of a guest column in the Hindustan Times yesterday by Ashok Row Kavi (left), India's most famous gay activist and chair of the Humsafar Trust, the leading Indian gay rights and AIDS organization, which he co-founded 11 years ago. With ironic wit, Kavi ridicules the Hindu-nationalist religious primitives of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), writing of Section 337 of the Indian Penal Code -- outlawing homosexuality -- that, "If this is ‘Hindu morality” the BJP better know that Section 377 of the IPC was brought in from Britain where it percolated into common law from Ecclesiastical Law, more specifically the St. James Bible where Leviticus rants and raves against same-sex relations. Britain threw out its anti-Sodomy statutes in 1968. But obviously, it is all right to defend a law that Christian evangelists keep on selectively quoting as the main floodgate against morality. Which goes to show that all fundamentalists have something in common, I suppose...." Read the rest of Kavi's informative article, and its description of sexual repression, violence, misogyny, and the fight against rapidly spreading AIDS in India, by clicking here.  For some historical background on same-sex love in India, see this book review by Kavi.

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