I happened to be at the Pride March this Sunday. Colour. Music. Dance. Celebration. Slogans.
It was an incredible experience indeed, but, amidst the powerful ‘azaadi’ slogans, occasional slogans like “Kashmir Maange Azaadi”, “Bastar Maange Azaadi”, “Bharat Mata se Azaadi”, etc, which are not remotely related to Pride and Article 377, troubled me seriously. I’m not even talking about nationalism or raising it to the debates surrounding sedition. I’m just questioning whether such slogans were even needed in a march against queerphobia.
The sloganeers were sure hardly audible till the end and the crowd only supported them in the chorus. Incidentally, I happened to stand near a couple of them, which is how when shouting ‘Azaadi’ in the chorus, I happened to hear something deeply disturbing.
I do not control what people think. I’m not going to remotely talk about nationalism and the surrounding ongoing debates out here. I’m only going to say one thing: I was there, marching on the streets of the National Capital, supporting an absolutely different cause. Bringing remotely-related and random things into the scene, which forced me into an undesirable self-guilt (about being present in a march where slogans I have inherently opposed are being chanted), was not cool. It was about celebration. And it was amazing beyond imagination. But that guilt has been hitting me at the back of my head since that noon.
Everyone has something or the other that they attach themselves to, and could die to uphold those principles. I have similar deep-rooted feelings for my country. Again, I’m not bringing in any debate of any sort judging anybody’s principles out here, that is a separate discussion altogether. All I’m saying is that when it’s about gender fluidity, or anything else, and on a platform as big as this, let’s keep ourselves restricted to the issue we’re dealing with at present. Because all those who’ve joined you in support of the issue at hand may or may not support your beliefs on any other issue. Using that platform to bring in anything else is unjust to everybody else who has joined you for a different reason.
P.S.: This piece is not directed at anyone in particular. This is just a genuine concern borne of a self-guilt amidst the fantastic celebration that I’ve been going through for the past 20 hours.