Same-Sex Relationships has always been an Integral Part Of The Indian Culture

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Parth Sharma
Parth Sharma
My name is Parth Sarathy Sharma and currently, I am pursuing a bachelor's degree in Mass Communication and Journalism. I have been writing (poetries and short stories) for the past five and a half years now. Apart from penning words, I am an avid reader and sometimes I paint too (mostly one line art though).
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the Delhi High Court that, “Same-sex marriages are neither a part of our culture nor a part of our law”. This statement was made in opposition to the petition filed for the marriage rights of the gay community. It’s been 9 years since the Supreme Court revoked IPC act 377. We will not veil and put aside the fact that a lot has changed since then. But justice to each still seems way out of reach.
Homosexuality is seen as a taboo in almost all cultures and religions. And most commonly it is deemed as “unnatural“. Even in the culture of India whose Vedic books clearly state in ancient Sanskrit: Vikriti Evam Prakriti (even unnatural is natural).
Before colonial rule homosexuality was normal, at least for India. Then what happened during the British Raj (Rule)? What laws bought this plague of inequality? and most importantly, how the long history and culture of India normalize homosexuality?

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How Britishers Criminalised Same-Sex And Diseased India?

There was a time in history when almost all nations were under the rule of Britishers. When Queen Victoria was the queen of the world. And it is during that imperial reign when Britishers popularise the slogan ‘sex is a sin’ and criminalized homosexuality. It was only England who frowned upon homosexuality. In 1860, Lorde Macaulay drafted the Indian Penal Code. And he made sure to insert section 377 that criminalized sex against nature.
Shreds of evidence Of Homosexual Relation Across Globe
There is no standardization of love and sex across borders in the entire loop of history. For instance, the love of a boy for a boy was institutionalized by the Greeks. The well known Japanese warriors, Samurais also accepted romantic or carnal relationships between the same-sex. And also the African as well the Polynesian Tribe. Medieval travelers from Arab claimed, ‘women were for home and hearth, while boys were for pleasure’.

Walking Through Homosexual History of India

Indian before thralldom was the land of prosperity and love. But there is a plethora of evidence to prove how Britishers exploited the nation. To trace and learn about same-sex relationships in the medieval period, one must analyze the following:
  • Sculptures,
  • Sacred Narratives,
  • and Ancient Law Book.

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Construction of sculptures on walls and gateways of temples and holy places began back in the 16th century. It is in these solid and magnificent artworks that one could find enough proves. We find gods, goddesses, demons, courtesans, angels, monsters, dragons, and animals practicing what we call  “obscene” and “unnatural”. These sculptures depict wild orgies between warriors and sages. One can also trace bestial animal intercourse which breaks all the laws. Elephants having sex with tigers, men with asses, and monkeys with women. And one can certainly not ignore the wall art of Khajurao where cleanly orgies of women have been depicted repeatedly.
Quick facts-
  • The same kind of depiction can also be found in the monasteries of Jains and Buddhas.
  • In accordance with some ancient treatise on architecture,” a religious structure is incomplete unless its walls depict something erotic”. 

The Undeniable Same-Sex Structures Of Khajurao

One certainly can not talk about homosexuality and not include the structures of Khajurao. The temple is believed to have been built in the 12th Century in Madhya Pradesh. It is renowned for its structures overtly representing sexual intercourses between same-sex. And there are multiple instances of female orgies. The sculptures are also known for being a symbol of same-sex intimacy. Upon his visit, Hrishikesh Sathawane wrote in DNA:
“If you think homosexuality is a western concept, go to Khajuraho… It is debatable if these things were socially acceptable in India, but they existed.”

Six Pivotal Proves

  • The well known Hindu epic Ramayana tells the story of King Dilip, who had two wives. He passed away without having an heir. Lord Shiva is said to come in the dream of the wives. He told them if they make love to each other they’ll have a child. They did as the Lord said and one of them got pregnant. Their son came to be known as King Bhagirath.
  • Mahabharata also tells an intriguing story of Shikhandini. She was the transgender warrior of her time and defeated Bhishma. She was the daughter of King Drupada, who raised him as a prince. He even got her married to a woman. But one discovering the truth her wife revolted and then she was blessed with manhood. Since then Shikhandini lived as a hermaphrodite.
  • The 9th chapter of Kamasutra of Vatsyayana talked of oral sexual acts, homosexual and transgender sexual intercourse.
  • Once Lord Vishnu took the form of Mohini to trick the demons so that he could drink all the amrit (elixir). But Lord Shiva saw Lord Vishnu as Mohini and instantly fell for him. They both had a son who came to be known as Lord Ayyappa.
  • In Valmiki Ramayana, one could find the written text telling how Lord Hanuman saw Rakshasa women kissing and embracing other women.
  • The Rig Veda Narrates the story of Varuna and Mitra. According to Shatapatha Brahmana, they represent two half-moons. And according to Bhagavata Purana, they both also had children. There two sons were Agastya and Vasistha. They were born when Varuna and Mitra have discharged their semen in water pots.

Final Words

Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leader Arun Kumar said, “Traditionally, India’s society also does not recognize such relations”. But it quite apparent from the above-stated facts that India’s culture and even gods have supported homosexuality. Likewise, there are many forms in medieval Indian literature where writers have mentioned homosexuality. Now it will be a foolish thing to do to state this was all fabricated. For they must have witnessed such things and then turned them into fiction.
To wrap it up in nutshell, one can drive many instances and examples from history and sacred books to prove that India’s culture has long supported homosexual relationships.

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