AZAD BHARAT KI GHULAM MENTALITY

Posted: October 30, 2011 in News, The NamoLeague Times
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
The statement that spilled venom at a convention meant to create awareness and foster concern for homosexuality.

Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad: “The disease of Men Having Sex with Men (MSM), which was found more in the developed world, has now unfortunately come to our country and there are a substantial number of such people in India. Even though it (homosexuality among men) is unnatural, it exists in our country and is now fast spreading, making it tough for its detection. With relationships changing, men are having sex with men now. Though it is easy to find women sex workers and educate them on sex, it is a challenge to find MSMs.”

The Minister was addressing a national meeting on HIV/AIDS prevention on July 4. The AIDS convention, organized by a forum of parliamentarians, was also attended by PM Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi. Some Union ministers and chief ministers, besides members of Parliament and legislative assemblies, Zila Parishad chairpersons and mayors, apart from professionals working in the area also remained present.

The comment raised eyebrows and caused havoc in the country. Activists and other groups demanded apologies and some went to the extent of Azad’s resignation. Having foot in the mouth, the minister hastily called a press conference the next day. “Some people have played with the words. I have been quoted out of context,” he said. “My reference was to HIV as a disease. As health minister, I know (male homosexual sex) is not a disease.” Though, the video clips of Azad’s speech in Hindi kept ruling the Indian news channels.

Ghulam Nabi Azad has been in the news a few years ago for the late-night-TV-solution he offered to control population. “If there is electricity in every village, people will watch TV till late night and then fall asleep. They won’t get a chance to produce children. When there is no electricity, there is nothing else to do but produce babies.”

FACT FILES


Myth
: Homosexuality is a form of mental illness and can be cured.
Fact: The American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of official mental illnesses in 1973. The American Psychological Association followed suit in 1974. And so have most associations around the world.

Myth:
 Homosexuality does not exist in nature and therefore it is not natural.
Fact: Historians tell us that homosexuality has existed since the earliest of human societies. Anthropologists report that homosexuals have been a part of every culture. It is also a well-known fact that same sex behavior is ‘natural’ between animals.

Myth: Sexual orientation is a choice.
Fact: Sexual Orientation is not a choice. It usually manifests itself in early adolescence prior to any sexual experience. What is choice is a person’s decision to act on their orientation or to deny and act against it. Doing the latter can create emotional problems later.

Myth: 
Homosexuality is a foreign concept.
Fact: We have the Kamasutra in India, which is a 2500-year-old sex guidebook. The book has a chapter exclusively on homosexuality. There are temples in Khajurao, Modhera, Patan, Dahod, Somnath etc with homosexual statues that were built even before the Muslims invaded India. We have Shikhandi in Mahabharata who was gay. Also, we have several gay characters in Ramayana, Mahabharata and other Indian epics. We have this concept ofArdhnareshwari (Half Shiva and half Parvati). We also have gay Gods and lesbian Goddesses in our Hindu mythology.

THE HEALTHY COMMENTS ON THE UNHEALTHY COMMENT

MOHNISH KABIR MALHOTRA, a publicist and gay rights activist

“I think the minister needs to apologize immediately. He has insulted the entire homosexual community. Homosexuality is very much a part of nature and it even finds references in religious texts. To call it unnatural is absurd.”

MARIO D’PENHA, a historian of the gay rights movement in South Asia

“To have such a level of bias and ignorance expressed in that context about something so basic is very dangerous. What is farcical, given his comments, is that he said the country needs more sex education. There are a lot of gay people in India who would like to give the minister an education.”

NANDITA DAS, actor-director

“I am appalled by the ignorance of the health minister. He is in a position of responsibility, and so his ignorance cannot be overlooked as it sends out wrong messages. In today’s day and age where same sex marriage is being legitimized around the world, and our own Delhi High Court has decriminalized homosexuality, I am amazed how ill informed and insensitive our minister is.”

ADITYA BONDYOPADHYAY, a lawyer and gay rights activist

“When a minister, and especially the health minister, says this in public, it conveys the impression that this is government policy, and that can have a huge impact on the lives of gay people who already struggle with official discrimination and police harassment. The religious right will jump on statements like this to increase the amount of hate.”

FARHAN AKHTAR, actor

“Azad should apologize for discriminating against Indian citizens on the basis of their sexual orientation. There’s no scientific proof to justify his comments. I am surprised he made such a statement.”

VIKRAM BHATT, director-producer

“How can something that hundreds of people indulge in be unnatural? It could be unpopular for some, uninteresting for some and unbelievable for others. But unnatural? No chance!”

BREAKING THE CLUTCHES, HOLDING TO THE REALITY

The biggest challenge to overcome the myths that prevail in the society is to create awareness. And comments like these from a person of such a stature, leads us nowhere. Marginalization of HIV/AIDS and homosexuality makes the issues isolated. This makes it harder to spread the awareness messages and create social acceptance. Even today, it is considered a taboo to belong to the homosexual community. In such times, the Health Minister should not have afforded to make such an irrational and unscientific statement.

Read original article at: http://epaper.namoleague.com/EpaperArticle.aspx?title=Azad%20Bharat%20Ki%20Ghulam%20Mentality_673

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