I was leisurely lying on my couch yesterday enjoying the not-so-sunny weekend afternoon and switching channels in between when I saw the advertisement of “Aligarh” movie being premiered on one of the television channels. I set a mental reminder for tuning onto the channel at 8.30 pm to watch the movie. I don’t remember why I missed watching the movie in theaters. As it turns out, I should have watched the movie in theaters!
In case you too have not watched the movie, it is based on the life of Ramchandra Siras, a Marathi professor of Department of Modern Languages, Aligarh University who was accused on indulging in an “inappropriate act” with a rickshaw puller in the capacity of his home. The story is about the much respected 64 years old professor and his life in Aligarh when one night two cameramen from a local TV station secretly barged into his house and started filming the professor having consensual sex with a rickshaw puller.
What lies ahead of him was a life of misery, dejection and mass disrespect. Professor Siras was not only suspended from the university, he was also been asked to vacate his official accommodation in less than seven days and almost thrown on roads! The colleagues and friends that he seem to have over the years, everyone conveniently chose not to help him kicking years of their friendships down the drain. All because the professor was homosexual. The movie successfully portrays the regretful plight of homosexuals in our country; how we often ignore the other aspects of an individual and very easily brand them as “Gays/Lesbians” as if being that is a sin. Professor Siras was not someone who simply taught at the university, he also was a successful poet, a good singer and an ardent fan of Lata Mangeskar.
Has anything changed in our country since Professor Siras incident? Not much. We still brand Homosexuals as untouchables, IPC 377 is continues to be criminalized, we are muting the word homosexuals on our television( in the movie Aligarh) and I don’t see any politician fighting for the cause.
When will we start treating everyone as equal and beyond the barriers of caste creed, color, religion or sexual preference? We will we start teaching our kids to accept themselves for what and who they are? When will we finally believe in the fact that we all are same?