Posts Tagged ‘parade’

7
Jul

Halla Bol!

   Posted by: aman    in Other

Soon after I finished my formal studies at my university I stopped going for public meetings, protests, morchas and dharnas. I believed in protest, but was caught too deeply in the work life, and by the time I could strike a work-life balance, I had started writing my novels. My novels are protest pieces, because I believe that within an individual lies the site of protest. I might be over generalising, but it is through an individual that I find the scope to create space for an individual’s thinking which might be contrary to a world view. Hence it is a protest.

When I received an invite to the 2009 Queer Pride parade in Delhi I was not sure whether I should go or not. I thought it was on a Saturday, a day I had reserved for my own work. Then the friend called and reminded me that it was on a Sunday. I was elated. I decided to go. For long I have believed that Gays and Lesbians, Bi-sexuals, Trans-gendered and Trans-sexual people are like us, in fact in many cases sharper and more sensitive because they have had to survive on the other side of the stigma that the society has imposed upon them.

I had just been a few minutes at the parade when the organisers unfurled a long, multi-coloured cloth, the symbol of the movement – the rainbow. When I was a child, on summer nights, my father, mother, and I used to sleep outdoors in the garden. Some times it would start to rain in the middle of the night. We would rush indoors but I would insist that my father and mother open a turban, hold its open ends in their two hands to make a canopy, and I would proudly walk under it. I would imagine I was a king, and my procession would wind its way through the small hedges and brick paths to reach my palace, my home.

When the rainbow was unfurled on Tolstoy Marg I remembered the protection that I used to seek under the turban canopy of my childhood. The rainbow seemed to be like that, a cover under which each person was free to be, free to choose how to live, free to dream, and be accepted. It took me a while to muster my courage to walk under it. But I did walk, it was my baptism, in the midst of a cheering and dancing crowd, I alone walked under the curtain. No one noticed me, no one knew it was my baptism, but when I emerged from under it a banner stared me in my face: walk together, to walk alone.

It was a lovely parade.

Most parades that I have attended in life have been sombre affairs. A tragedy occurs and people protest for rights, for redressal. In this parade, an ongoing tragedy is unfurling, but everyone was dancing, chanting slogans, talking with each other, and laughing. The police was extremely polite. A wonder. All my life I have heard the police abuse criminals and offenders by using terms which stood for all the labels by which people in this parade are known. They are ugly words, bristling with prejudice: chakka, gandu, and such. Yet, that day, when those who are known by those words, were out in a demonstration of their being together, the police was so polite towards us, only requesting us to speed up and not block traffic on Janpath.

What an inversion of power, I thought.

Soon after, the Delhi High Court scrapped Article 377, which mentioned homosexuality as a crime, and treated LGBTI people as criminals, use the law to arrest, prosecute, terrorize and blackmail sexual minorities. I recently read that 2 to 13 percent of India’s population might be gay, or interested in gay rights. That means the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Intersex people are a prominent vote bank. No wonder Indian politicians are reluctant to voice their opinion against the community. Cheers! Queer pride has arrived, and it is here to stay.

I enjoyed myself at the parade. Come next year. It is fun.

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