Mitra and Varuna- The same-sex couple in Hindu mythology

In Vedic literature, Mitra and Varuna are two dieties (Devas) who are portrayed as icons of intimate friendship between males.

Mitra-Varuna are referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda.They are both considered Ādityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors who preside over the universal waters. They are depicted riding a shark or crocodile together. Sometimes they are portrayed seated side-by-side on a golden chariot drawn by seven swans.

Ancient Brahmana texts associate Mitra and Varuna with the two lunar phases and same-sex relations:

(Shatapatha Brahmana 2.4.4.19)

“Mitra and Varuna are the two half-moons: the waxing one is Varuna and the waning one is Mitra. During the new-moon night these two meet and when they are thus together, everyone is pleased.

On that same night, Mitra implants his seed in Varuna and when the moon later wanes, that waning is produced from his seed. ( Varuna is similarly said to implant his seed in Mitra on the full-moon night for the purpose of securing its future waxing. In Hinduism, the new- and full-moon nights are discouraged times for procreation and consequently often associated with citrarata or unusual types of intercourse.

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Bhagavata Purana (6.18.3) lists Varuna and Mitra as having children through non-vaginal sex. Varuna fathered the sage Valmiki when his semen fell upon a termite mound, and Agastya and Vasistha were born from water pots after Mitra and Varuna discharged their semen in the presence of Urvasi. This account is similar to Gay couples having children through surrogate mothers in modern days.

Source: Shatapatha Brahmana, Bhagwata Purana, Rigved, vedic literature.

‘Out of Closet’ – Delhi University’s first pride parade by IIT Delhi.

As a part of the annual cultural fest of IIT Delhi, Rendezvous, Delhi University (DU) students came forward to support the first pride parade.

This social awareness campaign under ‘Pehchaan’ of IIT-D was titled as ‘Out of Closet’ and began from St. Stephen’s College and ended at Hansraj College of the North Campus.

The major highlight of the pride parade was a flash mob on ‘Wavin’ Flag song by IIT-D students. Additionally, Sharif D Rangnekar, a lyricist and LGBTQ activist and Sukhdeep Singh, editor of LGBTQ magazine, Anwesh Sahoo, Mr. Gay India and a student of IIIT were among those present at the event.
Students carried posters, raised slogans and participated in a flashmob to express solidarity with the cause.
Aman Sinha, a student from Ramjas College said, “ People need to embrace their individuality, talk about it, and not make fun. Events like these marches are a good way to encourage people to come out of the closet.”

Gaurav Kumar, an MA English student from Delhi University,“Thanks to so much of activism and media coverage, the city has become more accommodating and the acceptance levels have risen drastically,” he said.

In the end, Sharif addressed the students, “Colleges having gender forums and taking such initiatives is really wonderful. The real issue is the violence the society inflicts on those who have the strength to break away from the norm. Many such incidents are not reported, but the ones coming to light weaken the resolve of others who want to come out, but can’t. Societal pressure gets to them.”

However, the march procession was disturbed and interrupted by a group of people who did not consider it apt because of the funding involved in the same. Students of IIT Delhi assured that no money was taken from the sponsors as it was a part of the social awareness campaign.

Section 377: The Journey So Far

Here is an account of proceedings relating to section 377 so far. 

2001

Naz Foundation, a non-governmental organisation fighting for gay rights, files a public interest litigation in the Delhi high court, seeking legalisation of gay sex among consenting adults.


2004

September: The high court dismisses the PIL seeking de-criminalisation of gay sex. Gay right activists file review petition.

November 3: HC dismisses the review plea.

December: Gay rights activists approach SC against HC order.


2006

April 3: SC remands the case back to the Delhi HC, directs it to reconsider the matter on merit.

October 4: The high court allows senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader B P Singhal’s plea, opposing decriminalising gay sex, to be impleaded in the case.


2008

September 18: The Centre seeks more time to take a stand on the issue after contradictory stands between the ministries of home affairs and health over decriminalisation of homosexuality. HC refuses the plea and final argument in the case begins.

September 25: Gay rights activists contend that the government cannot infringe upon their fundamental right to equality by criminalising homosexual acts on the ground of morality.

September 26: HC pulls up the Centre for speaking in two voices on homosexuality law in view of contradictory affidavits filed by the MHA and health the ministry.

September 26: The Centre says gay sex is immoral and a reflection of a perverse mind and its decriminalisation would lead to moral degradation of society.

October 15: HC pulls up the Centre for relying on religious texts to justify ban on gay sex and asks it to come up with scientific reports to justify it.

November: The government in its written submission before HC says judiciary should refrain from interfering in the issue as it is basically for Parliament to decide.

November 7: HC reserves verdict on pleas filed by gay rights activists seeking decriminalisation of homosexual acts.


2009

July 2: HC allows plea of gay rights activists and legalises sexual activity among consenting adults of same sex.

July 9: Delhi astrologer challenges the HC verdict in the SC. Later, several others — including BJP leader Singhal (since dead), religious organisations, rights activists and yoga guru Ramdev’s disciple — also oppose the judgement.


2012

February 15: SC begins final day-to-day hearing in the case.

Mar 27: SC reserves verdict.


2013

Dec 11: SC sets aside the 2009 Delhi HC order which had decriminalised gay sex.

Dec 20: The Centre files review petition in the SC seeking re-examination of its verdict.

Dec 24: Gay rights activists file review petition in the SC seeking re-examination of its verdict.


2014

Jan 28: SC refuses to review its verdict on criminalising gay sex, dismisses pleas of Centre, activists.

Apr 3: SC agrees to consider for an open court hearing on curative petitions filed by gay rights activists against its verdict criminalising homosexuality.


2016

Feb 2: SC refers curative pleas on homosexuality to five-judge bench.

Source: Rediff.com

National Award Winning Film ‘Daaravtha’ is India’s Entry For LGBT Oscars

 

The Marathi film, “Daaravtha” (The Threshold), directed by Nishant Roy Bombarde, which won the National Award for ‘Best Short Film’ earlier this year, will now compete for the Iris Prize – Cardiff’s International LGBT short film prize, often referred to as ‘gay oscars’. The short film will compete with 34 other shortlisted films at the festival, which will be held in Cardiff, U.K., from Oct. 12 to Oct. 16.

The Iris Prize is the largest LGBT short film prize in the world, with the winner receiving 30,000 pounds to make their next short film in the U.K.

The Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, which is one of the partner festivals of the Iris Prize Festival, nominated “Daaravtha” – which won the ‘Best Indian Short Film’ award at the seventh edition of Kashish MIQFF (South Asia’s biggest LGBT film festival) held in May – as India’s entry for the prize.

“I am really grateful to Kashish for providing the film with such a great platform like Iris,” Bombarde said in a statement. “I think this is a brilliant initiative by Iris to get few films nominated instead of direct selection since in some countries like India, films related to LGBT issues are still in their nascent stage and might not make a cut to an otherwise very competitively curated festival.”

Kashish MIQFF festival director Sridhar Rangayan said that “Daaravtha” continues the trend of the growing queer film movement in India. “One of the aims of Kashish is to provide a platform for Indian LGBTQ films to be showcased around the world,” he said. “The nomination of our festival’s winner at Iris Prize raises huge expectations as the winner at Iris gets to make his/her next film with the cash award and resources offered by Iris.”

This is how homophobia costs Indian economy ₹ 2000 billion every year

A World Bank study estimates homophobia costs Indian economy a loss of ₹ 2000 billion ($30.8 billion ).

Author of the study and leading economist MV Lee Badgett used India as a case study.

Violence, job loss, discrimination, family rejection, harassment in schools, discrimination at workplaces, pressure to marry- all these  forms of homophobia cause less education, lower earnings, more poverty, poor performance, depression, poorer health and shorter lives. This ultimately results in loss of economy.

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Health disparities ( depression, suicide) cost 1500 billion and Labour related disparities (less education, poor performance, lower earnings) cost 500 billion.

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LGBT individuals receive lower wages due to workplace and education discrimination, which reduces the governments tax income. A higher poverty rate due to low income leads to more government spending on social programs. High rates of depression, suicide results in higher government health care costs.

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This is just the minimum cost as most of gay people in India are in closet and number of LGBT people is not exactly known.

This Man From Mumbai Publicly Comes Out As Gay Inspiring Millions

Coming out is not easy. And In India, homophobic laws and ignorant society discourage people more to stay in closet. But there are some courageous people who come out boldly with Pride. Himanshu Singh from Mumbai comes out in an inspiring facebook post, encouraging others to come out and take a stand. He made sure to do this on a public platform so as to inspire millions like him. Hats off to you Sir!

Here is an excerpt from his post:

“While I am changing the history here, it is my sincere request to share this message to give courage to those who are still living in shadows. Please do not hesitate in sharing. If you hesitate, I lose. We lose!

When you try to ‘fit’ in, you will disappear.

I am much more than my sexuality. My close friends would know me as a writer. Childhood friends would know me as a painter. I aspire to become a great pianist someday. How does my sexuality define me as an individual? But it is certainly one of the most fundamental part of my being. My sexuality is not a phase, it never was. It is not a disease, it is not a mental disability, it is not a choice, and definitely not a disgrace. I was born this way. I realized it when I was 14. It is so saddening to say that I had to strive for normalcy to be in societal norms all these years. It smothered me for quite a long time. Why do people advice to tell it to only those who matter? Why it has to be hushed and shushed?

There are so many people out there who are still struggling to come out. I just want to give a message that you are not alone and I am with you.

This is the strongest decision of my life. My hands are little cold but the heart is confident. A new man is born today. Life will never be the same from now on. And I am going to love it anyway.
REMEMBER – Your assumptions, lack of knowledge, ignorance and phobias are killing your closeted friends. Everyday! I am so grateful to my parents, my brother, close friends and flatmates who supported me immensely on this. “
India needs more people like Himanshu Singh!

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Ka Bodyscapes Movie: High Court Rules in Favour

Jayan Cherian’s Ka Bodyscapes, a gay love story, was rejected by the censor board, saying it contains obscenity. The makers had filed a petition challenging it. Now in a rightful judgement, Justice P B Sureshkumar said that the film doesn’t offend the censor board guidelines.

 

“Mere references to homosexuality and masturbation of women may not amount to obscenity or vulgarity,” high court said, “The freedom to think and act differently is an essential feature of democracy. The said freedom includes freedom to react and respond to the same situations differently and distinctly. one cannot expect everybody to express themselves in the same manner. If the freedom to express one’s ideas is not conceded, there will not be any creativity at all.”

Ka Bodyscapes is a poetic gay love story in the backdrop of an oppressive and intrusive social environment. It’s a film which questions individual freedom and civil liberties in times of homophobia and rising religious and economic extremist forces.

Set in Kerala, India, the story explores the world of a gay painter Haris (Jason Chacko), his lover and Kabaddi player Vishnu (Rajesh Kannan and a muslim woman Sia (Naseer) battles misogyny at her orthodox Muslim home and humiliation at workplace.

It had its premiere at the 2016 BFI Flare LGBT film festival.

‘LOEV’ To Be Screened At MAMI Mumbai Film Festival 2016.

Globally acclaimed movie finally coming home via 18th MAMI Mumbai Film Festival from 20-27 october, 2016.

Loev explores the love and friendship between two men, told through middle-class characters who chat in English as they spend their time in expensive hotels and restaurants. Directed by Sudhanshu Saria, the main characters of the film are Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh), Jai (Shiv Pandit) and Alex (Siddharth Menon).

Sudhanshu Saria’s feature debut has been sold to Italy (The Open Reel) and Poland (Film Village) on top of previously announced sales to Germany (Pro Fun Media), Taiwan (Swallow Wings) and Estonia (Menufilmid).

 

The film made its world premiere in the Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival’s inaugural Tridens First Features Competition, screened at the SXSW fest and had its UK premiere at the BFI Flare London.

Plot:

Whilst in Mumbai on a short business trip, confident young hotshot Jai (Shiv Pandit) meets up with his old friend Sahil (Dhruv Ganesh) for a road-trip through the Western Ghats. Leaving his boyfriend Alex (Siddharth Menon) behind, Sahil attempts to forget his troubles. Jai, on the other hand, is out to cut loose and have some fun. Over the course of the next 48 hours, the pair gradually reveal a complicated history, raising some painful truths in the process although much is left unexplained.

Spread these words and share the promos.

Take a glimpse of the movie, you will love it!

Sadly, actor Dhruv Ganesh died of tuberculosis at the age of 29 last year, while this movie was in post-production. He continues to live in our hearts through this film.