By Vivek Divan
Gay Bombay Group
Dear Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, Health Minister of India
It appears you need a dose of enlightenment since your recent statements
on homosexuality smack of either ignorance, misinformation or rank
prejudice. I hope that this missive serves that purpose, although I am
doubtful. On the other hand, I hope that it shames you.
I know what shame is like, having lived most of my life in a world that
never understood a core part of me — my sexuality. For your
irresponsibility you deserve no part in the governance of a nation that
prides itself on tolerance and diversity. Your bosses should dismiss you
immediately, but I have a feeling they won’t.
It is hard to imagine that you are the health minister of India. I imagine
that responsibility entails in its very essence promoting the well-being of
all Indians. And not consigning some of them to the margins and fueling
hatred and disgust against them.
What a travesty, especially since your humbug is directed against a
community, which has, in its attempt to emancipate itself, done nothing but
subscribe to the highest ideals that India’s Constitution aspires to — by
using democratic judicial processes to seek equality and understanding,
protesting their plight through non-violent means founded in free speech and
expression, and by working painstakingly within the community to alleviate
the impact of serious health problems such as HIV and social issues like
We haven’t attempted to bribe or use inflammatory language and tactics. We
have based our struggles on sound knowledge, on the unceasing appreciation
that there is a humanity in all persons, which will eventually locate the
truth. Not on the cronyism that must come ‘naturally’ to you.
And you call us ‘diseased’. If anything, you are deficient — in your
knowledge, your humanity and your responsibility as a servant of the people.
Tell us Mr Azad — what have you done to serve us as health minister of
India? What has been your commitment to ensure that India’s response to HIV
is at the cutting edge of science and entrenched in inclusiveness? Instead
of using diversionary tactics by inciting pointless hatred, what have you
done to improve public health in India so that states are coaxed to ensure
that hospitals, primary health centres and medical practitioners aspire to
the core values of this essential service?
While economic indicators bode well for the nation’s progress, health
indicators paint an entirely different picture to which you seem to be
blind. What are you doing about maternal mortality, dear sir? Some 100,000
women die from pregnancy-related causes each year — more than anywhere else
in the world. And what are you willing to do to rise above the votebank
politics that you and your ilk engage in?
You have said that homosexuality has been imported from the West. Well,
apart from the phenomenal ignorance that such a statement reeks of, you
should also know that many other things are imported from the West including
a vast amount of the resources used in the name of ‘development’ and
parliamentary democracy of which you are a part of.
Homosexuality is as intrinsic to India as, say, the corruption your
colleagues indulge in. In which case, why don’t we consign your tainted
colleagues to the scrapheap? The nation would be a far better place.
Originally published in
Link: http://www.hindusta ntimes.com/ / Article1- 718146.aspx