Friends, comrades and countrymen, lend me your ears.
Every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And sometimes, taking that single step matters the most and it often becomes a qualitative change in the progress of humanity. And today, for every person living in this country who has been criminalised for loving the person that they love, a new dawn has come; a red dawn that sparkles with rainbows all around.
To my friends and comrades in the LGBTQ community, today your existence and your right to love is no longer a crime. The State has bowed down to the will of progressive forces and has declared the vile Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code as unconstitutional, while creating many a legal precedent that would aid in getting same-sex marriages recognised.
I wish to embrace you and join you in your celebration. We have achieved quite a milestone together and it is just right and proper to party your heart out.
I extend to all the LGBTQ activists, aid workers, and lawyers fighting for this just cause my heartfelt gratitude and red salutes. It is your persistence, faith, and determination that has made the Indian State and its judiciary see reason. The State had no choice other than listening to the iron will of a community demanding liberation, equity, and justice. It is your, and only your efforts that has brought this day to our doorsteps. Some people would praise the Supreme Court, and some would praise the BJP (even when they have released a statement saying that they would oppose the court order). But you are the real and true heroes of a community that has been called a “miniscule minority” by the same Supreme Court half a decade ago.
But this is just the first step, the first step of a long and arduous journey ahead. There is the opposition by fundamentalists from all organised religions, and there are the fascists and conservatives who will do all they can to virulently oppose this decision. And this opposition has an influence on our society, thanks to the prevailing feudal culture that these regressives promote. To make the LGBTQ community socially acceptable to the broad masses is going to be no mean task. It would require dedication and patience, and it would incur the wrath and violence regressive sections of society. But we will be prepared, we will be ready to face their vitriol and even homicidal rampages.
We will combat bigotry and hatred with love and solidarity. Our love is for the people, irrespective of gender, sexuality, religion, caste or race. Our love is for the poorest of the poor, the oppressed and the exploited, the helpless and destitute. Our love is for a suffering humanity that struggles to assert itself in the face of brutal repression and silencing. Our love is for those who stand their ground and fight back against a regime of injustice, inequality, and violence we have been subjected to in the guise of “independence” for the past 71 years, armed with pens and the dream of making a better world. Our solidarity and support extends to all working class people, Dalit people, women and oppressed nationalities who fight for their dignity and self-respect.
When we—we, the people of this country and of all countries—are united towards the same goal of liberation and emancipation, nothing can stop us in our tracks. They can silence us, throw us in prison or for that matter, even kill us, but they shall not deter us from what we have set out to achieve, nor would they have our obedience or loyalty.
The night is dark and deep, but we have seen a rainbow of colours glimmering in the East. A red dawn is immanent, brightened by all the colours of the rainbow.
Today we celebrate, today we party and reminiscence. We shall always keep the red banner and the rainbow flag high up in the sky, as a symbol of our resistance and revolution.