Ancient India didn’t think homosexuality was against nature
Posted on July 20, 2009
Filed Under Uncategorized
NEW DELHI: Was Indian society tolerant of homosexuality before the colonial administration proscribed it in 1860? The government has taken conflicting positions on this within the country and outside.
On a petition pending before the Delhi high court seeking to decriminalize homosexuality, the government said in its counter affidavit that that there were â€œno convincing reports to indicate that homosexuality or other offences against the order of nature mentioned in Section 377 IPC were acceptable in the Indian society prior to colonial rule.â€�
But when it was being reviewed by the UN Human Rights Council last year for the first time ever, India distanced itself from that provision when Sweden, arguably the most gay-friendly country in the world, questioned its record in ensuring equality irrespective of a personâ€™s sexual orientation.
This is how Goolam Vahanvati, who was then solicitor-general and is now attorney-general, tried to save Indiaâ€™s face before the council as part of its official delegation. â€œAround the early 19th Century, you probably know that in England they frowned on homosexuality, and therefore there are historical reports that various people came to India to take advantage of its more liberal atmosphere with regard to different kinds of sexual conduct.
â€œAs a result, in 1860 when we got the Indian Penal Code, which was drafted by Lord Macaulay, they inserted Section 377 which brought in the concept of â€˜sexual offences against the order of natureâ€™.
Now in India we didnâ€™t have this concept of something being â€˜against the order of natureâ€™. It was essentially a Western concept, which has remained over the years. Now homosexuality as such is not defined in the IPC, and it will be a matter of great argument whether it is â€˜against the order of nature.”
Vahanvatiâ€™s admission on the international forum that the ban on homosexuality was a western import and its relevance was debatable flies in the face of the governmentâ€™s unabashed efforts before the Delhi high court to retain Section 377, complete with its colonial baggage and archaic notion of unnatural offences.
Whatever the politics behind this glaring contradiction, there is ample evidence placed before the high court by petitioner Naz Foundation substantiating in effect Vahanvatiâ€™s view that in the centuries prior to the enactment of section 377, India was rather accommodating of homosexuals. See Ancient India didn’t think homosexuality was against nature
Times of India
India Decriminalizes Gay Sex
Obama urges lesbian, gay patience overturning ‘unjust laws’
Religious groups in India have warned they will…
Delhi HC verdict on panel provision of gay sex likely Toda