When I saw Baba Ramdev embracing Narendra Modi I wondered how he ever
managed to get his arms around the man! Soon I stopped laughing. I had
remembered the paradigm of Attila and the Witch-doctor. For centuries
in our country and all over the world the god-man has given his moral
sanction to the political leader and in return has received
protection, publicity and wealth. While this has continued in
post-independence India at a regional level, where politicians queue
up for the blessing of the latest Baba or Swami in vogue with his
electorate, India has essentially as a state remained secular, as our
Constitution defines our nation, Bharat, that is India.

Bharat was of course deliberately chosen instead of Hindustan to
distinguish it from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and to assert our
identity as secular. When Baba Ramdev together with fanatics from
other religions approached the Supreme Court to overturn the
decriminalisation of LGBT life that the Naz Foundation had achieved in
the Delhi High court, it was a deliberate and direct attempt to inject
the virus of private belief into public life. Baba Ramdev has of
course claimed to be able to “cure same-sex love and desire” and the
president of the BJP Raj Nath Singh has said that the ruling is in
tune with India’s culture, by which he and the party he leads mean
Hindutva. While Narendra Modi has kept uncharacteristically silent in
order not to alienate the liberal voter he is so ardently hoping to

We, LGBT folk have had to struggle for our right in every democracy in
the world. London where I live saw its first gay wedding only this
month and in the United States sodomy remains an offence in many of
the states which have gone out of their way to ban same-sex
relationships. There is nothing unique or distinct about shunning LGBT
people in India. Uganda only recently criminalised them.

Ironically, Baba Ramdev and Modi’s BJP are trying to turn India into a
mirror-image of the Islamiststates. In Iran and much of the Arab world
homosexuality is punishable by death and LGBT people are regularly
arrested, tortured and even raped, sexual violence being in their eyes
the ultimate humiliation.

The BJP claims that it has no party position on the recent
re-criminalisation of people like us, playing good cop to Baba
Ramdev’s bad cop. The vice-president of the party says that he
believes in the restoration of LGBT rights, in which case why does he
keep the company of the those who so obviously dispose and detest us
on so basic a right as the liberty of the individual? Does any serious
commentator believe that the BJP is neutral on the subject of our

The BJP is heavily into censorship, the latest example being a book
about female sexuality by an American academic that Penguin India had
to withdraw, again on an application to the Supreme Court. It has
invented the myth of the Babri Masjid being the birth place of Ram and
in its attempts to destroy the masjid created a nationwide open season
on Indian muslims where at least two thousand muslims in the slums of
Bombay, where I was at the time, were murdered. Not to mention many
other parts of India, including Surat where mobs forced Muslim men to
take down their trousers so that they could know if they were
circumcised and Muslim. This of course was a practice commonly
followed by the Nazis in Europe to identify Jewish men and their
families. This was followed by the revenge killings in Gujarat,
something that is documented very well in Rakesh Sharma’s documentary
film the Final Solution. Modi as Chief Minister of Gujarat allowed
this to happen. As an observation by the Supreme Court said that he
had behaved as Nero did, by looking away from the events happening all
around him. BJP activists were applauding every murder and encouraging
their supporters to target the next Muslim household in any street.
That fifty-nine Hindus had been murdered by Islamist terrorists in
Godra cannot possibly be an excuse for innocent Muslims who had
nothing to do with the terrorists whatsoever to have been slaughtered
in such a vicious massacre, presided over as Chief Minister by
Narendra Modi.

I am writing this because it is time for us Indians to elect a new
Parliament. Modi and the BJP are offering the Gujarat model, typically
fascist in that it welcomes industrialists and makes investing in
Gujarat very easy, in return the industrialists remain silent about
the political horror that is gone on under its government. Muslims are
regularly discriminated against, kept in poverty and fear by threats
from the BJP’s bully-boys. To my shame, as a Parsi belonging to the
tiniest communal minority one of our heroes Ratan Tata, who has built
a huge organisation, the profits of which go mostly to charity, shook
hands with Mr Modi and chose to produce the Tata’s iconic small car
called the Nano in Gujarat. At the meeting Ratan Tata joked and said
that Nano was not that different from NaMo, which as almost everyone
knows is Modi’s nickname.

For those of us who are politically conscious the fascist nature of
the BJP is very clear and it is unlikely that we would vote for the
BJP. The crucial thing is for us to talk to and convince our families,
our friends, everyone who loves and respects us, to do the same. I am
not a member of the Congress or a publicist for that party but I must
say, from what I have seen Sonia and Rahul Ghandhi were the first
people to come out against the re-criminilisation by the Supreme
Court. Followed swiftly by Kapil Sibal, the Law Minister, who actually
suggested that the best and safest thing to do was to ask the Supreme
Court to review its judgement. And that the government should issue an
ordinance immediately to protect people like us from blackmail and
bullying and outright violence. I have not heard Arvind Kejriwal speak
out against this moral outrage. The last time I heard him speak in
Varanasi on my television, was to say that he had been an atheist all
his life until the success of his party convinced him that this was a
“kudrat ka karishma”, whether it was by the blessings of Bhagwan,
Allah or Jesus.

I will end by paraphrasing the words of the good German who protested
against Hitler and was sent to Auschwitz where he was killed. What he
said in effect was “when they came for the Muslims, I did not shout, I
was not a Muslim. When they came for the homosexuals, I did not shout,
I was not a homosexual. When they came for me, there was nobody left
to shout.” When the Supreme Court re-criminalised us and said we were
a minuscule minority, I think all of us in India would be wise to
remember that the smallest minority of all is the individual.


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