September 17th, 2015
Purple Skies –When One Stretches the Wings to Fly
And the wings are clipped by a section of the Indian Penal Code.
IPC 377 was a part of the British colonial legacy in India. It was introduced in 1860 and reads thus:
Unnatural offenses: Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.
Explanation: A section of men and women, lesbians, gays, transgender, and bisexual, who had been a part of Indian culture from time immemorial, were declared as “criminals”, literally with a stroke of pen.
The pain, trauma, hope and happiness of this minor yet large LGBT community of India have been explored in “Purple Skies”, a documentary directed by Sridhar Rangyan. He had been commissioned by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust to uncover the lives of this community and to offer a glimpse of violence they suffer, physically and more poignantly, emotionally on a daily basis throughout their lives. A lot of times they have to “pay the cost of their coming out” with their lives.
The documentary was made from a series of interviews between 2008, when Delhi High Court read down section 377 of Indian Penal Code (thus decriminalizing homosexuality) and 2013, when Supreme Court dismissed the High Court’s ruling. It made its debut at KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, and has been screened at 27 international film festivals.
Watch this small video which gives a bird’s eye-view of the documentary. We can think for ourselves if it is human to deny a section of people, however minor, to such shame, humiliation, physical and mental torture, rapes, police custody, or drive them to suicide, for the “sin” of loving someone of the same sex, or for having a body gifted to them by God.