I love to connect with people all over the world and want to know their stories. This one was written of a new friend of mine, Ramya Mishra from India. I’m happy to share this historical view on gender issues which shows some interesting contemporary coherences and differences.
LGBT and Ancient India
written by Ramya Mishra
I have heard multiple times in discussions, homosexuality is a western import, and India had nothing to do with it. Please smell the coffee and wake up to a few of the historical facts. The members of the LGBTQ community were present since ancient times and were widely respected. Few of the Ritivikas or Rishikas (females rishis) were gays because they connected with the soul of a person, rather than focusing on the physical aspect of the person.
Why was homosexuality banned in India? – Like many other trails of notable disasters left by the imperial rule, this was a further addition to that list. The ban on homosexuality or considering it unnatural is the gift of the colonial era.
The imperial rule not only destroyed India’s steel, textile, and other industries but also distorted the moral fabric of the country. Let us try to uncover the key reason behind the implementation of Section 377. In the Bible, marriage is a union between a man and a woman,and any kind of sexual activity, which is placed outside this context is “Sexual immorality”. The colonial rule implemented Section 377 in India in 1861, carefully taking the same into consideration.
None of the ancient sacred books or scriptures of the country condemns the same-sex relationship. In ancient times we celebrated and accepted all forms of love.
I was buoyant, the day Section 377 was removed. Not only we acknowledged a particular community, but also we embraced our native culture.
At times I detest the hypocrisy of our society, we worship Ardhnarishwar form of Shiv, an androgynous composite of Lord Shiva and Ma Parvati. But still we are not ready to willingly accept the members of the third gender. Let us take a walk into the ancient and medieval India, where we will come across some startling facts around the LGBTQ community, highlighting their status in the society.
- We all have heard about Alauddin Khilji, it is widely believed he was bisexual. But only a few are aware his son Mubarak was in a recognized relationship with one of the noblemen. And we are talking about the 12th century over here.
- Who hasn’t heard about the mighty Mughal emperor Babur? He was responsible for laying the foundation of the Mughal empire in India. Do you know he was in love with a boy named Baburi?
- In ancient times in India, two women or two men could raise a child without being looked upon. The lesbians were addressed as “Swarinis” and the gay men were called “Klibas”. In Vedas, a homosexual marriage falls under the category of “Gandharva Vivah”, which does not need parents’ approval. These marriages were widely accepted within the LGBTQ community, and in mainstream society too.
- The acclaimed book “Kamasutra” written by Sage Vatsayan, contained one chapter dedicated to same-sex lovemaking techniques. The chapter name is “Auparishtaka”, please be adventurous enough to google it.
- The famous King Bhagirathi, who brought the holy river Ganga on earth, was the son of two queens. King Dilip the sole heir to the throne died, without leaving a child behind. The widows drank a magic potion and made love to each other, which resulted in the pregnancy of one of the queens. The child born was King Bhagirath.
- According to the mythology, the famous Agni god married goddess Svaha and the male moon god Soma. The union resulted in the birth of the god of war “Skanda”.
Trust me, the extensive list can go on. I haven’t mentioned the sculptors of Khajuraho, indicating same-sex lovemaking or even the notable Konark temple, depicting the same.
Sadly, we had such a glorious past but due to the homophobic attitude of the society, many youngsters who prefer alternate sexuality, are uncomfortable staying in the country. A few of them migrate to the west, where the society is liberal and the conditions are much more tolerant. In a way, our homophobic attitude is equally contributing a minuscule part in promoting the brain drain.
I believe it is high time when we should go back to our roots and accept love in all the forms. An individual’s sexual choice cannot be the reason for his or her segregation from society. Please do let me know your views around the same.
About the author
Ramya Mishra carries over 14 years of experience in Brand and Product Development. She is today’s leading communication expert especially in the field of hospitality. In her work experience, she has served both agency and client. She has designed a communication strategy for corporate and human brands at National and International levels. She is an expert in Content Development, Media Management, Crisis Management, Digital PR, Internal Communication, and External Communication. She frequently writes on human interest stories, travel and books.