By Bhavita Kukreja:
Democracy accommodatesÂ plurality of opinions, people are free to express their opinions, free to pursue their own religion. As quoted by Abraham Lincoln, “Democracy is For the People, By the People and Of the People”. He furthers says that if justice is meant for the welfare of the people, then why is it so that people have to fight for justice? Why can not we live life the way we wish to? If everything is people-oriented why arn’t people getting justice?
This could be best explained by taking in notice the Middle-East countries, where any disenting voice that is raised against the state is put down with a heavy hand. Expressions of Individuality like that of Taslima Nasrins’ are not favourably accepted. Taslima herself qoutes, “I was born in a muslim family and muslim women suffer under Islam.” According to her, the need of the hour is not Reformation but Revolution. She says Islam religion is ‘out of place and out of time ‘. She is the author of the famous book LAJJA that talks about a Hindu women being raped by a Muslim and the consequences thereafter that followed. After the publication of this book, it was banned in Bangladesh and charges were put against her, people were after her life.
It is because of this that she has been living in exile since 1994. Since the time she fled from Bangladesh in 1994, she has been taking refuge in countries all over the world. At present she is in New Delhi in a house – location of which is undisclosed. She works to build support for freedom of thought, equality of women and human rights.
Latest topic in vogue these days is that of Homosexuality. Homosexuality is considered as a taboo by both the Indian Civil Society and the Government. Once During the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, Dr.Manmohan Singh was asked by a journalist on his views regarding the law that allowed gay marriages in Canada, to this he said that, “There would not be much appreciation for a law for gay marriages in India”. What a pity it is that the prime minister himself thinks this way.
But over the years the attitude of people has changed towards homosexuality. Gays and lesbians all over the world have been carrying out parades and marches for their acceptance by the state the way they are. In India and the world over, it has been a successful march. On July 2009, The Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexual intercourse, consenting and judged according to chapter 16, section 377 of The Indian Penal Code to be legal in the Indian Constitution. But this code applies in the case of sex involving minors. It is not just limited to this, there is a Lesbian Association of India as well which was established in June 2007, and it works for the support of the lesbians and biosexual women in India which comprises of a population of about 1.2 million.
Last but not the least, I would like to conclude with the example of Eunuchs, popularly known as Hijras in India. They constitute 5-6million of the total population of the country. Till date they are looked down upon by the society. Until 1994, they had no rights of their own but in 1994 they were first given right to vote.
But a great achievement among them is that of Shabnam Mausi Banu who was the first ever transgender woman being elected as the MP of Madhya Pradesh Legislative Assembly. She was the MP from 1998-2003 i.e. for a period of 5years. She has inspired alot of eunuchs to take up politics and participate in mainstream politics. In 2003, eunuchs in Madhya Pradesh announced their own political party called “JEETI JIYATI POLITICA (JJP)” with their 8 page manifesto claiming its difference from mainstream politics.
In the end I would like to conclude that each of us has a separate identity and we should not only respect ourselves but other individuals as well. We live in a democratic country and hence we have the right to lead our lives the way we want to, others have no right to impose their own views and ideas upon us.