Tag Archives: hindu

Scenes from My Life

kolkataAuthor: Kaustav M. from Kolkata, West Bengal, India

It all started in the summer of 2008 when I joined a computer-learning school. My classmates were of various age groups from as young as 14 to as old as 45. The first few days were peaceful and I liked going to my class. After first few weeks of peace a guy in his mid-20s joined us. He was short, used to wear spectacles and had great knowledge of computers which I found to be extremely attractive! We soon became friends and started hanging out.

Days passed by and one afternoon, I still remember, we were sitting in his room upstairs and no one was around. We started watching porn! It was male-female sex! For a boy who has just reached puberty, one can imagine how it was! Obviously nothing happened between the two of us. But it obviously got me thinking and reflecting on my past experiences.

There have been moments in the past when I have felt strong attraction towards humans of my own gender. I could never understand why I used to feel anxious around them, why there were butterflies and lilies in my stomach and liver. But the feeling was always there and always got ignored.

Watching and downloading and again watching straight porn lead me to another portal: gay porn. This was the first time I was watching ‘man-on-man action’ and I thought, “Really, so men can actually have sex with other men? Interesting!” For a long time I used to believe that men can have sex with other men only for money and it can never be anything more.

But this belief of mine changed as I started watching movies. My Own Private Idaho (1991) was my first movie where two men were in lead and something ‘funny’ was going on between the two, I thought. I was shocked and equally thrilled to find that ‘this’ can also be made into movies, like feature length movies. For a boy of 15 or 16 it is a lot. Then, Brokeback Mountain (2005)! This is when my belief was questioned. Unlike the previous movie in this one the two men were what we call ‘in love’ with each other and can do anything to be together!

The shock stayed for months.

Shelter (2007) was another pleasant shock because unlike Brokeback Mountain the two actually succeed in living together. This gave me hope. Hope in the sense that maybe someday the same might happen with me! Be it gay porn or queer mainstream cinema, it all has helped in forming my identity.

top bottom versatileLater, I came across a ‘dating’ website (hooking up is more like it) where my newly formed idea that two men can love each other was questioned! People in the website were more ‘advanced’ and spoke a language I didn’t know. They said, ‘T/B?’ and I didn’t know what to answer.

It took me some time to get it. Mostly people refused to ‘see me’ because I didn’t know what I was: a ‘Top’ or a ‘Bottom’ or a ‘Versatile’. I don’t know what I was expecting but I decided to stick around even after knowing that I’m committing a ‘sin’.

Though I’m a Hindu, I believe in Jesus. Christians believed that homosexuality is a sin. For a long time I thought maybe it is a sin, maybe I am doing wrong. The conflict continued for some time.

After  numerous virtual rejections and my chubbiness and thinning hair line, I managed to make a friend and decided to meet. This was going to be the first time I was going to meet a ‘sinner’ like me. We got along well. We talked about music and movies – Lady Gaga and Wong Kar Wai! He helped me a lot in coming to terms with myself. Because I had spent all this time in loneliness. I had no one to talk to or look to for answers for the numerous questions. Mostly it was me and the internet. By the time was eighteen I was happy with myself and had read enough to be sure that being gay was nothing ‘abnormal’ or a ‘sin’.

It was a winter night and I and my sister decided to watch a movie together. We often used to do that. I suggested, should we do something different tonight and played Prayers for Bobby (2009). The movie ended and my sister had tears in her eyes.

I looked at her and said, “Didi, I’m like him. I’m like Bobby. I’m gay”. I added, “Will you let me die like him?”

She hugged me and said, “No, never. You know that I love you, right?”

She has always loved me and has supported me ever since. Being gay probably is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

Article: Pakistani Dalits – the disadvantaged survivours

By Amar Guriro 

KARACHI: Dalits or co-called lower caste Hindus – comprising 90 percent of Pakistan’s religious minorities – are the most underprivileged, with lowest access to education, said a study conducted by Pakistan Hindu Seva (Welfare Trust).

The report said only 16 percent Pakistani Dalits get basic education and only 3 percent of them reach graduation level, while 2 percent go for postgraduate studies.

According to Indian National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, Dalits are ‘outcasts’ falling outside the traditional four-fold caste system consisting of the hereditary Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, and Shudra classes; they are considered impure and polluting and are therefore physically and socially excluded and isolated from the rest of society.

“Majority of Dalit students are compelled to leave their education between primary and middle level because of their parents low income, who neither work in public sector nor on daily wages, but rather do mean jobs to survive.”

Explaining facts behind the low literacy ratio, the study said that it was because of the dropout ratio of Dalit students during primary and middle school, as their parents find it difficult to afford their educational expenses. Even though the public sector schools give exemptions, the rest including uniform, school shoes, and books are the parent’s responsibility, which they find difficult to fulfil.

Dalits are on the last step of ladder of Hindu caste system, in which they are treated as third-grade citizens. Most Pakistani Dalits live in different districts of Sindh with a majority in Mirpurkhas division and Thar Desert.

“Doughts in the Thar Desert frequently prompt temporary migration of Dalits to barrage areas to scour water, livelihood and fodder for their livestock. This seasonal migration affects their children’s education,” said the study.

Dalits often work as landless peasants on farms of some of the most powerful feudal lords, who treat them as slaves. “In many places, the landlords ask Dalits about the strength of their family members for assistance in work, prior to employing them. Resultantly, influential land owners take Dalit children under their custody, which is another reason behind low literacy ratio,” the study claims.

“In Pakistan, parliament approved thousands of programmes for health, education and poverty reduction during each of their reign, but none of the programmes specifically focus on the issues faced by Dalits,” said Vice President Hindu Seva, Chander Kolhi.

Low literacy rate combined with lack of awareness regarding basic human rights has made matters worse for Dalits; facing issues like bonded labour, being denied seats in public transport, and made to clean toilets, even after passing primary or secondary level education, they are systematically discriminated against, he said.

“Government must know that minorities are a valuable asset and have been living here for a long time, even before partition. It is their right to get complete and free education, good health facilities at hospitals, proper freedom and employment as per their eligibility,” said Kolhi.

“It is unfortunate and sad, that it has been more than six decades since the establishment of Pakistan, but the discrimination and gap between minorities and majority keeps widening with no hope in sight,” said Hindu Seva President Sanjesh Kumar.

Published in the Daily Times on 7 June 2013

via Round Table India