"What! Of all creatures do ye come
unto the males, and leave the wives your Lord created for you? Nay,
but ye are aggressive folk."
Following the footsteps of a few Western
countries, the Delhi high court has decriminalized the consensual
sex between adults of the same gender on July 2, 2009.
All the major media houses – electronic
and print, were agog with flashing headlines the next day-
“Homosexuality in India decriminalized” and “India ultimately
democratized”. The judgment of the Delhi high court said that
committing homosexual acts that is having gay or lesbian sex or
having unnatural sex, which in turn means same-sex marital
relationship or sex among bi-sexuals and transgenders, is no longer
illegal in India.
The high court verdict came blatantly
and argued that it is against the fundamental right of liberty and
life to punish the adult and consensual practitioner of unnatural
sex. The on record judgment thus reads:
“Moral indignation, howsoever strong, is
not a valid basis for overriding individuals' fundamental rights of
dignity and privacy. In our scheme of things Constitutional morality
must outweigh the argument of public morality, even if it be the
This judgment in fact, repealed the
Article 377 (1860) of the Indian constitution.
Under the section of unnatural offences
the article 377 of Indian Criminal Panel Code Cr.PC) reads:
“Whoever voluntarily has carnal
intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or
animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with
imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to
ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
With the high court judgment, the voices
of protest had been heard from all corners of the Indian mainstream
society including anthropologists, medical scientists, religious and
political leaders. A majority of the Indians interprets the judgment
as something against nature, Indian tradition, religion and culture.
And more interestingly, all major religious leaders – Hindu, Muslim
and Christian are united on this front and have decided to fight
against the judgment of the high court, but the Supreme Court as of
now has declined to put stay orders on HC's verdict.
Certainly, the Delhi high court has
flung open a never-ending debate among sections of intellectuals
including Indian parliamentarians. The members of ‘Lesbian, Gay,
Bisexual and Transgender movement’ (LGBT) who have actually filed a
PIL seeking legalization of gay sex among consenting adults in 2001,
of course, are very happy with the verdict and have marked it as
‘landmark’ and ‘historic’ decision and the day – ‘2nd July 2009’ a
day of celebration. Thus, the issue invites our methodical study
with genuine and humane rationalism.
Sodomy, modern homosexuality, is
consistently considered both legally and morally wrong since the age
of pre-recorded history. In the three major religions of the world –
Islam, Christianity and Judaism places on the plain of the River
Jordan named, Sodom and Gomorrah have been used as metaphors for
vice and punishable sexual deviation of human beings.
The religious scriptures of the glorious
Qur’an and holy Bible relate the story of Prophet Lut (as) or Lot’s
nation in Surah Al-Hijr: 72-73 and Genesis 19:24-25. The meanings
remain somehow similar in both the scriptures ‘for the sins of their
inhabitants Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboim, “were destroyed by
the Lord of Heaven". The story has therefore given rise to words in
several languages, including the Arabic words Luti or
Luwatat which in English is "sodomy", a term used today
predominantly in law to describe non-vaginal intercourse, as well as
In 1976 the historian Michel Foucault
argued that ‘homosexuality as an identity did not exist till the
eighteenth century; that people instead spoke of sodomy, which
referred to sexual acts’.
Actually sexual life of a person has two
major orientations – heterosexual, that is vaginal male-female or
natural sex and homosexual. Europeans have later divided the
homosexuals or the same-sex relationship into four categories:
1. Gays are called those men who
have their sexual desire only with other men.
2. Lesbians are such women who
fulfill their sexual needs only with other women.
3. Bisexual are those who are
found to have sexual desire with both men and women.
4. Transgender are those who
have resemblance to both men and women and can play either role
during sexual meetings.
Beginning of the LGBT
Human culture and morality has been
gradually influenced by so-called Western personal freedom
jeopardizing human etiquette and man’s distinction from animals.
Though a little number of people throughout history have been
engaged in unnatural and immoral acts of homosexual behaviour either
because they do not find women or they are found of transgression
against established law or because they find a greater pleasure in
But it is a historical fact that before
the 18th century, homosexuality was considered a dangerous crime and
all countries in the world had punishment for it and even in England
the punishment for this crime was the death sentence. In 1785 some
people from England raised voices to reduce the punishment but a
majority of people were against it and so it could not be done. It
was a dark day in the history of mankind when in 1791 the French
government announced that homosexuality was not a crime and there
would not be any punishment for this act.
Various scholarly articles and books
record that since the Stonewall riots of 1969 in the USA, widely
considered the start of the LGBT rights movement, there has been
increased visibility, recognition and legal rights for lesbian, gay
and bi-sexual people, including the rights to marriage and civil
A British scholar writes, ‘Homosexuality
– whether lesbian or gay – has been, and still is, regarded as
inherently obscene. In 1936 Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness
was declared obscene because it dealt with lesbianism. Nearly 50
years later, in 1984, the London bookshop Gay’s the Word was
prosecuted and 800 items seized on the same grounds’.
‘This is in fact ruination of Indian
culture. Homosexuality is an unnatural act and it is dangerous to
moral values. It plays a key role in making the society liable to
fall. Thus such verdict can never be accepted and the government
must not hasten to amend the section 377 of IPC’ has been the
reaction of a prominent Indian scholar, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal Al-Qasmi,
the president of Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) and MP of the
Lok Sabha form Dhubri constituency of Assam, following the
controversial verdict of the Delhi HC.
Hearing the petition filed by NAZ
Foundation, a bench comprising Chief Justice Ajeet Prakash Shah and
S. Murlidhar argued that the section 377 of the IPC goes against the
21st article of the same section, which gives every citizen equal
right to live “his own life”. Therefore, it must be amended.
Amending the 21st article, would provide the citizens with
opportunity to live lustful and profligate lives and we must not
overlook the fear which indicates ruination of the already
devastated society. The verdict has destroyed many principles such
as security to the religious tenets, health code and the moral
values only to save one article. Thus here harm is more than
benefit, so the argument is not wise.
Maulana Khalid Saifullah Rahmani, a
Hyderabad based theological jurist expressed his anguish against the
HC verdict in a long article carried by a national Urdu newspapers
on July 31, 2009. He argues ‘living one's “own life” does not mean
at all, that brushing aside with all the religious and moral values,
man should cross all the limits of lust and inhuman wishes and the
government should provide him with the constitutional security’.
Consensual sex between adults of the same gender is an unnatural act
which is neither allowed in any religion, nor accepted by any noble
man, he further wrote.
When this writer talked to a teenage
medical student in Guwahati, Assam, he responded with sharp counter
questions. He asked, “If the judges, who have issued the verdict
find their own sons or daughters in such ‘shameful’ act, will they
bear it? If not, then why did they allow such unnatural act that
will surely ruin the whole society and the Indian culture?”
For many the verdict of the Delhi HC was
uncalled for and they demand that the higher judiciary should revise
it soon and the government should not amend the section 377 of the
Indian Penal Code.
Homosexuality and gayness are against
both nature and logic. It is a moral lapse that kills the soul of
civilized society. It is an unnatural aberration, which destroys and
debases a human being. Those who granted it a legal status and
considered it as a personal choice of a citizen cannot stand on
their own logic. For instance men’s personal choice has no limits,
even speaking exclusively about one’s sex life.
There are thousands of reported and
unreported sexual incidents between most respected and very close
family members who are adult, sound and did it with mutual consent
like sex between father and daughter, mother and sons and brother
and sister. Those who did it or eager to do are of course human, by
the general definition, they love to name their act as personal
choice or ‘individual freedom’ and more so it can be termed as one’s
family affair. Are we the rest of the society – governments and
human right champions about to legalize their acts too? If not, then
of course every freedom, every personal choice has a limitation and
precisely the limitation in this case is wholly based on social,
cultural and religious grounds.
Adultery, fornication, say pre-marital
and extra marital sexual relations or sodomy, gayism and lesbianism
were considered ‘sin’ or illegal earlier by all the civilized
socialites with same degree as they consider sexual relation between
father and daughter or mother and son today. The sexual
understanding in the former cases is now changed – they are no more
so ‘heinous’ in most of the ‘developed’ western countries, thanks to
aggressive campaign by the players involved in the acts– consensual
sex between father-daughter or mother-son is still somehow intact in
mainstream societies of the world.
My point here is that in a democracy, no
doubt, public opinion and consensus of individuals do matter. So if
some day a few people come out openly and demand to legalize what
they are doing today in hiding, with the criminal tendency in
hearts, as sexual relations within close family members and put
‘logical’ arguments with reference to economy and durability of the
relationship and cite scientific and medical reasons in support of
the act as it is not physically harmful or beneficial; would we
amend the present laws, social structure and family system? If yes,
what will be the last choice of a person in his sexual behavior and
where will he finally rest his lustful freedom express with more
moral degradation in the future of the human race. And if no, then
better that the government and the society tries to limit it today
rather than waiting for a morally worsening tomorrow.
Furthermore, sexual life between two
individual is not just to fulfill one’s lust or physical need but it
is mainly for procreation of human races and this purpose is
defeated if the anal canal is used for sexual purposes. It is
contrary to the Creator’s design of male and female – Adam and Hawa
(Eve) which is a natural fit. Homosexuals – gay or lesbian, cannot
naturally give birth to children. The almighty Lord clearly sees
homosexual activity as symptomatic of living by one’s desire rather
than the Creator’s design, it is clear transgression of the law of
nature and it’s rampage, uninterrupted practices will invite
irreparable ecological, biological and health damages to the entire
MAJOR RELIGIONS ON
A rightist Hindu Ramesh Shinde writes
‘In Hindu Dharma, being a eunuch and having homosexual relations are
two different matters. In Mahabharata, ‘Shikhandi’ has been known as
a eunuch warrior; but Dharma does not recognize homosexual relations
and considers it as abnormality. The verses 62 and 63 in Chapter 2
of the Bhagwad Geeta explain about how an excess of sex can destroy
man. In ‘Narada-Smruti’, marriage of homosexuals is considered to be
S K Gupta, spokesman of Yoga Guru Baba Ramdev filed a petition in
the Supreme Court challenging the July 2 judgment of Delhi high
court decriminalizing homosexuality. The petitioner prayed to the
apex court to set aside the judgment as such sexual acts will have
corrupting effect on the culture and ethos of Indian society. The
famous Yoga prince Baba Ramdev appears to consider homosexuality a
mental disease and he suggests it is curable through Yoga.
Traditional- say original Judaism
explicitly condemns and prohibits homosexuality. It has prescribed
one of the sever punishments for those who commit homosexual acts.
In an article for Aout.com Lisa Katz argues: ‘The various movements
within Judaism differ in their view of homosexuality. Traditional
Judaism considers homosexual acts as a violation of Jewish law (halakha)’.
According to the Bible, homosexual acts
are "to'evah," an abomination.
In Leviticus 18:22, it is written: "And
you shall not cohabit with a male as one cohabits with a woman; it
is an abomination."
And in Leviticus 20:13, it is found:
"And if a man cohabits with a male as with a woman, both of them
have done an abominable thing; they shall be put to death; their
blood falls back upon them."
New York's Jewish Week described Dennis Prager as "one of the three
most interesting minds in American Jewish Life" details in his
article ‘Judaism's Sexual Revolution: Why Judaism Rejected
Homosexuality’ and argues ‘when Judaism demanded that all sexual
activity be channeled into marriage, it changed the world. The
Torah's prohibition of non-marital sex quite simply made the
creation of Western civilization possible’.
Dennis Prager further writes: The
revolutionary nature of Judaism's prohibiting all forms of
non-marital sex was nowhere more radical, more challenging to the
prevailing assumptions of mankind, than with regard to
A hand some amount of references can be
cited from biblical texts (New Testament) and from the scholarly
writings of Christian clergies which clearly condemns sodomy
(homosexuality) from as early as 250 CE. The writings of Justin
Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, St. Cyprian, Aristides,
Cyprian, Eusebius, St. Basil the Great, St. John Chrysostom, St.
Augustine of Hippo, and in doctrinal sources and canon law such as
the Apostolic Constitutions – for example, Eusebius of Caesarea's
statement which condemns "the union of women with women and men with
"Do you not know that wrongdoers will
not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators,
idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the
greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers – none of these will inherit
the kingdom of God." (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)
A report published by The Times of
India, July 2, 2008, gives the news “Women priests are fine, but gay
bishops are not allowed. This is the attitude of Anglican Church in
India which is supporting the traditionalists.” Bishop Gavit, the
former church of North India bishop of the city said, “We in India
and also other countries of South Asia have been opposed to the
issue of gays in church like other countries of Asia and Africa,” he
There is also a report in Hindustan
Times, the same day (July 2, 2008), which reads that homosexuals are
not mentally sound people. The report follows; “Protestant church
leaders in Mumbai have likened homosexuals to people not of sound
mind” as the Anglican Church inched towards a schism between
liberals and conservatives. Both the church of North India (CNI) and
the Church of South India (CSI) are supporting a conservative
breakaway faction of Anglican Church, called the Fellowship of
Confessing Anglicans, on the battle over allowing gay clergy into
“We are not comfortable with the idea of
a gay priest,” said Reverend Prakash Patole, Bishop of Mumbai, CNI.”
“CNI and CSI have accepted women priests
but we haven’t got to stage of welcoming homosexuals,” said Reverend
K.I. Dyvasirvadam of St Stephen’s Church, Bandra.
Similar views were echoed by many
Christian priests and religious scholars. “The Bible does not
recognize gay marriages or gay priests,” said Reverend Benny Thomas
of CSI, Mumbai.
‘God clearly sees homosexual activity as
symptomatic of living by one’s desire rather than the Creator’s
design.’ (Romans 1:25–27).
Islam being the most modern and of
course the latest among all major religions in the world speaks
unequivocally on the illegality of homosexuality. There are
references in the Qur'an which directly or indirectly refer to gay
and lesbian behavior. Some obviously deal with effeminate men and
"masculine women." However the two main references to homosexual
"We also sent Lut: He said to his
people: "Do ye commit lewdness such as no people in creation (ever)
committed before you? For ye practice your lusts on men in
preference to women: ye are indeed a people transgressing beyond
bounds." (Al-Qur'an 7:80-81)
"What! Of all creatures do ye come unto
the males, and leave the wives your Lord created for you? Nay, but
ye are aggressive folk." (Al-Qur'an 26:165)
Prophet of Islam Lut (as) is referred to
as "Lot" in the Hebrew Scriptures. This passage is an apparent
reference to the activities at Sodom and Gamorrah. It seems to imply
that there was no homosexual behavior before it first appeared in
Sodom. The passage also links the sin of Sodomites (the reason for
Sodom’s destruction) to homosexuality.
Many Ahadith (sayings of Prophet
Muhammad (saws)) discuss luwatat (sexual intercourse between males):
"When a man mounts another man, the
throne of Allah shakes," means the act is a heinous crime and
severely punishable by the law of almighty Lord.
"May Allah curse him who does what the
Lut's people did." (Ibn Hibban)
There is at least one mention of lesbian
behavior in the Hadith: "Sihaq (lesbian sexual activity) of women is
zina (illegitimate sexual intercourse) among them." (Tabrani)
There is a consensus among all Islamic
scholars that all humans are naturally heterosexual. Homosexuality
is seen by scholars to be a sinful and perverted deviation from the
law of nature. All Islamic schools of thought and jurisprudence
consider gay acts to be unlawful. They differ in terms of penalty
but every school has prescribed punishment for the unlawful act.
Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi of the USA based
ISNA said: "Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral
disease, a sin and corruption... No person is born homosexual, just
like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer. People acquire
these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education."
"There are many reasons why it is
forbidden in Islam. Homosexuality is dangerous for the health of the
individuals and for the society. It is a main cause of one of the
most harmful and fatal diseases. It is disgraceful for both men and
women. It degrades a person. Islam teaches that men should be men
and women should be women. Homosexuality deprives a man of his
manhood and a woman of her womanhood. It is the most un-natural way
of life. Homosexuality leads to the destruction of family life."
MEDICAL SCIENCE ON
The World Health Organization's (WHO)
ICD-9 (1977) listed homosexuality as a mental illness; it was
removed later from the ICD-10, endorsed by the Forty-third World
Health Assembly on May 17, 1990.
‘A sharp rise in HIV infections could be
looming among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Asia unless they
are given better access to health services…’ say health experts.
In the recent past a meeting jointly
held by WHO, UN Development Programme, and UNAIDS in Hong Kong to
find ways to deal with HIV/AIDS problem in the region. The primary
conclusion of the meeting was that there is a “paucity of
information and several knowledge gaps” due to lack of surveillance
but the research that has been done indicates “widespread HIV
transmission throughout the region where MSM (men have sex with men)
and TG (trans gender sex) appear increasingly and disproportionately
affected by the HIV epidemic”.
Dealing with the ongoing debate in India
following July 2, 2009 verdict of the Delhi HC a senior sex
therapist in Mumbai and MD Dr. Rajan B Bhonsle who is also an Hon.
professor and head of the department of sexual medicine at Seth GS
Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai mastered an article ‘Gay
rights is ok, but what about health risks?; carried by DNA newspaper
on July 14, 2009. Dr. Bhonsle’s argument, to me, is striking and
factual, hence sharing the abstract of his article will bring home
the medical aspects of homosexuality. He writes:
‘Being a medical practitioner in the
field of sexual medicine for over two decades, I have seen severe
medical complications arising out of "consensual sodomy" or "anal
sex", whether between two homosexuals, or even when it has been
compelled on a woman by a man.
The physical and emotional trauma of
these victims stirs my heart and cannot go unmentioned in the midst
of all this debate of "de-criminalizing consensual sexual behavior
in privacy between two same-sex individuals".
Kiran was a 20-year-old frail boy from a
poor family. He got a job of a peon in a private office after a lot
of struggle. His boss, a 46-year-old rich married man, fancied anal
sex. He pressurized Kiran to have anal sex with him after office
hours in his cabin. Kiran felt helpless as this job was vital for
him. He consented to the demands of his boss.
A few months later, when he approached a
doctor, he had developed infected painful fissures at his anus and
had partially lost control on the mechanism of the anal opening
which was not functioning due to the injuries during anal sex. He
had lost his job and had no courage to approach the police as he
felt he had neither the moral right nor the legal standing as he was
major and had "consented" to this act.
Deepak, a 32-year-old married government
employee was a bisexual. He would indulge in anal sex with some of
his male office colleagues 'consensually' for mutual pleasure. His
wife was completely oblivious to this side of her husband. Deepak
also never felt that his secret parallel life would ever affect his
During the second pregnancy of his wife,
the obstetrician detected that she was not only HIV positive, but
her tests for Syphilis, Hepatitis-B and Genital Herpes were also
found positive. Deepak too was tested positive for these four STDs.
It was obvious that Deepak had contracted all these STDs from his
multiple homosexual contacts and now his wife and unborn child were
also victims of these life threatening infections.
In all the cases, the involved
individuals were 'adults' and were engaging into anal sex with
'mutual consent' in 'privacy'. Doctors get to see several such
cases. I wish all those who are critical of section 377 of the
Indian Penal Code (1860) need to give serious consideration to their
demands. The legal experts, social activists, gay organisations and
the media cannot afford to be ignorant about possibilities such as
As a medical expert, I would like to
talk about some medical facts related to anal sex. Medical science
regards anal sex as "high-risk behavior".
Physiologically, the anus is not
designed for penetration by any hard object. The anal sphincter
tightens ordinarily if stimulated, as a protective reflex action,
and any attempt at penile insertion may be distressing even if done
slowly and gradually. If the penis is forced into the anus, injury
is possible. The lining (mucus membrane) of the rectum is very thin,
tears easily, does not heal fast and therefore is vulnerable to
Also, the tears can enlarge to a fissure
or a crack leading to the outside of your body. There is also a
possibility that a fistula could open up, allowing faeces to
re-route into the abdominal cavity or into the vagina. This can
cause serious surgical complications. One may lose control over the
anal sphincter causing continuous involuntary leakage of faecal
Some of the micro-organisms that are
normally present in the anus of even a healthy individual are known
for causing severe urinary infection if they enter the urethra and
urinary tract. During anal sex the urethra actually enters the
rectum, inviting infective bacteria into the urethra and thus the
urinary tract. Repeated urinary infection can cause serious problems
such as renal damage and even kidney failure.
Masters & Johnson in their book on 'Sex
and Human Loving' warn, that because bacteria are naturally present
in the anus, anything that has been inserted into the anus if
subsequently put into the vagina, can cause severe vaginal
infections. Therefore moving from anal intercourse to vaginal
intercourse is extremely hazardous.
The rate of
transmission of HIV (and other STDs) through anal sex is much higher
compared to other penetrative sexual acts. It will be
enlightening to know that the condom, which is thought to be a means
of "so-called safe sex", is not designed for anal sex by the
manufacturers. Anal sex involves a totally different kind of
pressure dynamics, and the latex or polyurethane condoms are not
manufactured keeping these pressure dynamics in mind. The condom is
far more likely to get torn during anal sex (thus paving the way for
the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other STDs). Therefore I reiterate
that anal sex even with the use of a condom is definitely a "high
Finally, I would like to conclude by
saying that as a society, we need to learn to accept all "persons"
with equal human rights irrespective of their choices, but we do
reserve the right to reject certain "behaviors" that are injurious
to the health of those persons or others connected to them...’
Here the final call is STOP. We need to
stop here and now. Freedom of individual choices has no limit at
all. A society would face complete social, moral and collective
collapse if all individual members of the society are given just a
free hand to go with their own life anyway they like.
For example the youthful owner of the
BMW car loves to drive by 250 km per hour speed on Mumbai-Pune
express highway whereas a trucker enjoys going by 20 km speed on the
fast-track of the same express road. Why are the both wrong, and the
traffic police hunt and fine such offenders on road at the spot!
Another adult sane, for instance, loves to go complete nude in
public as his or her show of personal ‘freedom’, thanks to universal
sense of humanity that till date no country in the world though
legalized it. In the former case the reason being for such driving
unlawful or punishable crime is either the driver will harm himself
or the others on the road not following the prescribed rules for
driving on that highway. And in the later it is nothing but
morality, saneness of human being and social structure of human life
that does not allow another human to remain completely nude all the
time and to freely roam around in market places, offices and even at
home before others.
Spirituality or morality is naturally
manifested to every human being, it changes the degree later with
social or behavioral changes of a child. Without moral or spiritual
force from within, even an atheist or a nonbeliever in any religion
will reduce his ‘own life’ a hell in a very short span of life.
Legalizing homosexuality or say extra martial heterosexuality is
logically inhuman. No sane society should allow or appreciate it.
The author M.
Burhanuddin Qasmi is the editor of Eastern Crescent magazine,
a Darul Uloom
Deoband alumnus and the director of Mumbai based
Education & Research Centre.
He can be contacted