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Current Affairs

Indian Prince disinherited for being gay

Katherine Knowles July 6, 2006

KOLKATA, INDIA: Indian members of the Integration Society, an organization committed to the defence of human rights and sexual freedom, apply make-up as they take part in a march entitled "Walk on the Rainbow" in Kolkata, 26 June 2005 to commemorate the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York, said to be the birth of the Gay Liberation Movement. Some hundred members took part in the march even as homosexuality in India stands criminalized because of a mid 19th century colonial law, as the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code enacted by the British in 1860 criminalizes what it calls, "sexual offences against the order of nature". AFP PHOTO/DESHAKALYAN chowdhury (Photo credit should read DESHAKALYAN CHOWDHURY/AFP/Getty Images)

Prince Manvendra, (from the Royal family of Gujarat in North West India) has officially stated what has been long believed – that he is gay.

Indeed, the Prince has never really sought to hide his sexual orientation, producing and staring in the gay film “Emotionally Yours”, and setting up an HIV- awareness NGO to educate gay men about the dangers of the disease. This NGO, Lakshya, has solemnized gay “marriages” and is conducting research into acceptance for homosexuality in Holy Scriptures.

Perhaps the annulment of his short- lived marriage might have given Prince Manvendra’s parents an inkling of his preferences. He apologised in court to his ex wife for never consummating the marriage.

Indeed, hoping not to be forced to go ahead with the marriage in the first place, Manvendra told his parents that he had sensed that he might be gay from the age of 12, and in 2002 he received counselling to help him come to terms with the consequences of his sexuality.

Yet, when a Gujarati paper published Manvendra’s statement confirming that he was indeed gay, it provoked such shock, outrage and disbelief from his parents, that it’s impossible to believe that they had accepted the truth about their son until now.

His mother, the former Princess of Jalisimar issued a notice stating; “Manvendra is involved in activities unacceptable to the society. Hence he ceases to have rights as a son over family property.” Manvendra’s father underlined this disinheritance, issuing another notice saying; “The power of attorney given to Manvendra Sinh in December 2002 about family properties … stands cancelled”.

Although it is unlikely that this disinheritance will stand up in a court, the Prince himself accepted his parent’s actions with resignation; “I will not stake my claim to the property. I have no regrets. I have found a family in the (gay) community and will continue my activism and fight for my rights,” India Today reported.

The news was greeted with mixed reactions in the province. A group of men from Rajput held a demonstration against the Prince claiming that he had brought shame to the community. But most people were much more tolerant, and welcomed the Prince’s openness.

“Manvendra’s mother has been unfair to him. He has never hidden his sexual orientation. He doesn’t deserve this treatment. The gay movement in India has come of age and needs to be looked at from a new perspective,” said Guru Ashok Row Kavi.

But sadly Manvendra’s mother is showing no sign at all of tolerance. “Nobody should refer to my name as Manvendra’s mother,” she wrote in a statement. “If any individual or organisation does he will invite contempt proceedings.”

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