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Open letter to Justice Katju – Happy New Year and Get Well Soon !

1st Jan’ 2015

Dear Justice  Makrand Katju

Greetings !!

Your recent post on Gay and Lesbian Relationships (LGBT) ,    created a lot of ruckus,    as you tweeted , sadly ,               you were called a homophobic also, and then your CLARIFICATION further aggravated the ire. I am writing to you, as to why it happened . Why were you labeled homophobe, Sexist and   misogynist

According to you, homosexuality is a  ‘unnatural ‘and “modern” phenomenon and must be ‘cured’ to give way to reproductive heterosexuality.In your opinion, at the heart of heterosexual bonding, companionship, love, lies procreative sex and the desire to keep the human race going. Therefore, you question , “Will a gay relationship or marriage serve nature’s requirement of continuing the species?”

So what is ‘natural’. It will mean, not only humans but all species who exists on planet earth . And we have seen that homosexuality is found in mammals, birds and even insects. Also  I hate to break your conviction that homosexuality  is “unnatural” and “not a disease”, the American Psychiatric Association in 1973 and the World Health Organization in

1992 did accept homosexuality as a ”normal” variant of human sexuality. That apart, if one reads the history of sexual practices across the world, one realises that same-sex sexual practices have been  there since times  immemorial and that sexual identity-based categories are only an early 20th century invention of American-European psychologists and sexologists.

 

Now before, you jump one me saying s AHA, dont give me western evidence on homsoexuality as , According to you, homosexuality is a “modern” phenomenon and must be ‘cured’ to give way to reproductive heterosexuality.

But hold on Sir, Unlike most civilizations of its time, the Indian society during the Vedic age and even before had an open mind-set on matters of homosexuality and “queer” issues. The statues  of different temples justify the presence and acceptance of homosexuality in ancient India. Khajuraho temple in Madhya Pradesh, the Shiva temple in Bagali, Karnataka, the Rajarani temple in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha are a testimony to this fact

 

on the southern wall, shows a woman facing the viewer, standing on her head, engaged in intercourse, although her partner is facing away from the viewer and their gender cannot be determined. She is held by two female attendants on either side and reaches out to touch one of them in her pubic area.

on the southern wall, shows a woman facing the viewer, standing on her head, engaged in intercourse, although her partner is facing away from the viewer and their gender cannot be determined. She is held by two female attendants on either side and reaches out to touch one of them in her pubic area.

 

Men havings ex in Khajuraho, 13th CE

Men havings ex in Khajuraho, 13th CE

At the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho (954 CE), a man receives fellatio from a seated male as part of an orgiastic scene.

At the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho (954 CE), a man receives fellatio from a seated male as part of an orgiastic scene.

I would like to add that Hinduism and homosexuality are not strange bedfellows. Hindu texts have not shied away from addressing homosexuality The Hindu mythology has many incidents showcasing fluidity of sex, where same-sex interactions have often served a sacred purpose. And sometimes, the gods themselves have been part of these transformations and unions.Add to this, a portion of the Kama Sutra is dedicated to the fulfillment of sexual desires and encompasses the full range of human sexuality.

 

 

Homosexuality has never been considered a crime in Hindu culture. In fact, Lord Ayyappa was born of Hari-Hara (Vishnu and Shiva).Homosexuality, not a crime in any Smriti. Everyone has male and female elements. According to their dominance, tendencies show up and may change.

 

The androgynous form of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati better known as “Ardhanarishwar” is worshipped in full galore Ardhanarishwara means ‘The Lord who is half a woman, and half man’.

In the Bhagavata Purana, Vishnu takes the form of Mohini, a beautiful enchantress, in order to trick the demons into giving up Amrita after the manthan. But Lord Shiva falls for Mohini, and they have a relationsip, with Shiva being fully aware of the real identity of Mohini. The result of this union was a son (Lord Ayyappa).

Shikhandi, in Mahabharata, was born a girl, Shikhandini, to Drupada, the king of Panchala. She was the reincarnation of Amba, who was rendered unmarriageable by Bhishma. She was granted her wish to be the cause of Bhishma’s death, and was reborn Shikhandini. But since a divine voice told Drupada to raise Shikhandini as a son, she was taught warfare. On the wedding night, Shikhandini’s wife discovered that her “husband” was female, and insulted her. Shikhandini fled, but met a yaksha who exchanged his sex with her. She then became a man, Shikhandi, whom during the Kurukshetra war, Bhishma recognised as Amba reborn and refused to fight ‘a woman’. After his death, Shikhandi’s masculinity was transferred back to the yaksha.

When Arjuna spurned the amorous advances of a nymph, Urvashi, she cursed him to become a ‘kliba’, or a ‘hijra’, a member of the third gender. Lord Krishna then tells Arjuna that this curse would be the perfect disguise for Arjuna during his last year of exile. Arjuna takes on the name Brihannala and dresses in women’s clothes for a year.

You also believ that the role of the woman in a heterosexual union is that of being a mother-homekeeper and the role of the man is that of the protector-giver.

 

With such a patriarchal statement, I wonder what are you trying to say . We all know Violations of women’s sexual and reproductive health rights are often deeply engrained in societal values pertaining to women’s sexuality.

Patriarchal concepts of women’s roles within the family mean that women are often valued based on their ability to reproduce.

Early marriage and pregnancy, or repeated pregnancies spaced too closely together, often as the result of efforts to produce male offspring because of the preference for sons, has a devastating impact on women’s health with sometimes fatal consequences. Women are also often blamed for infertility, suffering ostracism and being subjected various human rights violations as a result.

Patriarchy also controls women‟s reproductive power. In a  patriarchal society women don‟t have control of reproduction, or to use contraception, terminate  pregnancy and prefer to girl child

Further patriarchy not only forces women to be mothers of sons, it also determines the condition of their motherhood. This ideology of motherhood is considered one of the bases of women‟s oppression because it  creates and strengthens the  divide between  private and public, it restricts  women‟s mobility and growth   and it reproduces male  domination.

You further add in your Facebook post that “it is not men who pursue women, but women who pursue men. It is the Life Force which drives women to pursue and catch a mate, who will then look after her while she is performing nature’s serious and vital function of continuing the species”.

Also, procreation is just one reason why humans have sex. The other reasons are many like the pleasure of emotional, physical intimacy. Similar to the fact that food is not eaten just for survival but also because it gives pleasure. If procreation was the only reason then people would stop having sex after having progeny .

The icing on the cake is fact when you say  you are not in favour of criminalising homosexuality but its not natural ?

 

The  AHA moment, where i ask you-

Is it natural to be normal?

If yes, why would we need laws to maintain something natural?

In other words, if heterosexuality was normal, why would we need Section 377 to curtail same-sex intimacy

And them comes your gem —

Women who remain single are prone to have psychological problems.

Seriously, did you know that single women are not dependent on any man to provide for them .  Infant many single women are providing  for men . Should those men be shot because they decided to live off the woman and hence go against the nature? Also did you  know that single is not necessarily divorcee or widow ,there are , particularly those who are single by choice. There is no dearth oft such women as they are now occupying jobs that were traditionally considered male domains or unfit for females. You rarely saw a woman waitressing a decade ago for instance; as this occupation was considered socially “inappropriate” for an Indian girl (airhostesses were regarded as glorified waitresses).As the job market has exploded, more women have become economically independent and are enjoying the freedom of living on their own terms. They don’t need to succumb to the social pressure to marry and live up to traditional expectations that disregard their individuality.

So, Justice Katju, Please WAKE- UP from your sexist slumber , and see the reality of woman empowerment.

 I sincerely hope you find a psychologist soon, because now you are now definitely ,  prone  to   developing psychological  problems.

Happy New Year and Get well soon

 

Feminist and Human rights activist

 

Kamayani Bali- Mahabal

 

PS-  not so exhaustive  list of temples  you must visit for evidence collection

  • Also at Khajuraho, – At the Lakshmana temple in Khajuraho (954 CE), a man receives fellatio from a seated male as part of an orgiastic scene.
  • At the Shiva temple at Ambernath, constructed in 1060 CE, a badly weathered relief suggests an erotic interest between two women.
  • At the Rhajarani Temple in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, dating from the 10th or 11th century, a sculpture depicts two women engaged in oral sex.

A 12th century Shiva temple in Bagali, Karnataka depicts a scene of apparent oral sex between two males on a sculpture below the sikhara.

  • At Padhavli near Gwalior, a ruined temple from the 10th century shows a man within an orgiastic group receiving fellatio from another male.
  • An 11th century lifesize sandstone sculpture from Orissa, now in the Seattle Art Museum, shows Kama, god of love, shooting an arrow at two women who are embracing one another.
  • ( Friends do add on the travel itinerary, as there are many more , in comments section 🙂

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World Mental Health Day- You know the facts or believe the Myths ? #mustread

Today is World Mental Health Day.

Every year on 10th of October, The World Health Organization joins in celebrating the World Mental Health Day. The day is celebrated at the initiative of the World Federation of Mental Health and WHO supports this initiative through raising awareness on mental health issues using its strong relationships with the Ministries of health and civil society organizations across the globe. WHO also develops technical and communication material and provides technical assistance to the countries for advocacy campaigns around the World Mental Health Day.

The theme of World Mental Health Day in 2013 is “Mental health and older adults”.

Mental Healthcare in India

There are only 5000 mental health professionals in India.

One in five people in India live with a mental illness.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), countries like India devote less than 1% of their health budgets to mental health compared to 10%, 12%, 18% in other countries.

While there are as many as two crore (20 million) Indians suffering from mental illnesses, the country has only 3,500 psychiatrists and 1,500 psychiatric nurses to treat them.

Medical Statistics states that one in four people globally experience a mental health condition in their lifetime. In India prevalence of mental disorders is six to seven percent for common mental disorders and about two percent for severe mental disorders.

The Government of India has also introduced The Mental Health Care Bill 2013 in Parliament on 19 August 2013. The bill seeks to safeguard the right to access mental healthcare, right to protection from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and right to equality.

Some commonly myths that relate to mental illness are below, along with the facts:

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: Most people with mental illness are not violent; only 3%-5% of violent acts are committed by individuals living with a serious mental illness; people with severe mental illnesses are more likely to be victims of violence than the general population.

Myth: People who go to a psychologist/psychiatrist  are  mad

Fact: People come to see a psychiatrist for many reasons. Some people have severe mental illnesses whereas some people are simply having trouble coping with the many stresses of modern life. Most people who see a psychologist/psychiatrist are simply trying to find ways to cope better with difficult feelings or behaviours and see psychiatric treatment as an opportunity to improve their lives.

Myth: People with mental health needs are weak and they cannot tolerate any kind of stress and are unable to hold a job.

Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as others.Mental health problems have nothing to do with being weak and many people need help to get better. There are many factors that contribute tomental health problems including biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, and injury. Life experiences, such as trauma, or a history of abuse, a family history of mental health problems, can all serve as contributory factors. People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely. Many people with mental health problems are highly active members of our communities, therefore you may know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it.

Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?

Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual; and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with multiple support systems during the healing and recovery process.

Myth: Children cannot be depressed.

Fact: Young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable.

Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.

Myth: I can’t do anything for person with a mental health problem.

Fact: Friends and family can be important support systems, to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:

Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help

  • Being available to listen to them and their stories
  • Helping them access mental health services
  • Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn’t true
  • Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
  • Refusing to define them by labels such as “crazy” or “mad”

Myth: It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mentalhealth problems. Identifying the vulnerable and encouraging help-seeking goes a long way in preventing mental illness.

Myth: One needs to take medicines for life and mental illnesses are not cure able

Fact: Sometimes medicine might not be necessary and only therapy can help. Medication may be necessary for controlling the initial stages of mentalillness. It is not necessary that medication used is habit forming. Mentalillnesses are manageable, just as one manages diabetes. There are people like Abraham Lincoln and John Nash who have been successful in their respectable fields, despite their illness.

Myth: Marriage will resolve everything: “Shaadi kara do; sab theek ho jayega”

Fact: Marriage does not resolve or cure mental illnesses.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), countries like  India devote less than 1% of their health budgets to mental health compared to 10%, 12%, 18% in other countries.

HOTLINES –HELPLINES

 

Befrienders India – National Association 
c/o Sneha, 11 Park View Road
R.A.Puram
600 028
Chennai
Website: befriendersindia.org

Centres

Lifeline Foundation 
17/1A Alipore Road
Sarat Bose Road
700 027
KOLKATA
Hotline: +91 33 2474 4704
Hotline: +91 33 2474 5886
Hotline: 2474 5255
Website: education.vsnl.com/n4h/

AASRA 
A-4, Tanwar View, CHS,
Plot NO – 43, Sector 7
Koparkhairane
400 701
NAVI MUMBAI
Contact by:
Hotline: +91 22 2754 6669
Hours:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 09:00 – 21:00

MAITREYI 
255 Thyagumudali Street
605001
PONDICHERRY

Hotline: +91-413-339999
Hours:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 14:00 – 20:00

ROSHNI 
1-8-303/48/21 Kalavathy Nivas,
Sindhi Colony
S.P. Road
500003 A.P.
SECUNDERABAD

Hotline: +91 40 7904646
E-mail Helpline: [email protected]
Hours:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat: 11:00 – 21:00

Saath 
B12 Nilamber Complex
H.L. Commerce College Road
Navrangpura
380 006
AHMEDABAD
Hotline: +91 79 2630 5544
Hotline: +91 79 2630 0222

SNEHA 
11 Park View Road
(Near Chennai Kaliappa Hospital)
R.A. Puram
600 028
Chennai

Hotline: +91 (0) 44 2464 0050
Website: snehaindia.org
E-mail Helpline: [email protected]
24 Hour service: 

The Samaritans Sahara 
Sir J-J. Road
Byculla Bridge
400 008
MUMBAI

Hotline: +91-22-2307 3451
Website: mumbainet.com/health/samarita.htm
Hours:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 15:00 – 21:00
 Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 21:00

Sumaitri 
1 Bhagwandas Lane
Aradhana Hostel Complex
Basement
110 001
NEW DELHI
Contact by: Face to Face  – Phone  – Letter: 
Hotline: 2338 9090
Website: sumaitri.org
Hours:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri: 14:00 – 22:00
 Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 22:00

MAITHRI – Cochin 
Ashirbhavan Road
Kacheripady
Ernakulam Kochi
682 018
Kochi
KERALA

Hotline: +91 239 6272
Website: maithrikochi.org
E-mail Helpline: [email protected]
Hours:
 Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun: 10:00 – 20:00

 

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