Saturday, June 21, 2014


India's Supreme Court is still stronger than this film


The subject of the film is about something many people have gone through: the contamination to HIV, the development of the disease of AIDS and the ultimate death of the patient. Personally I do not want to count the victims around me because that would be too sad. Some died of pulmonary infections. Some died of a vicious attack on their nervous system. Some died of Karposi skin cancer. The types and modes of death were incredibly varied. For nearly 15 to 20 years the available treatments did not do much except slow down the end and soften that end. We now have a treatment that can lengthen the life of the patients seriously, but it is no cure yet. But luckily we are far beyond Reagan’s declaration that it was the punishment of god against homosexuals.

In the film we are in Goa and we are dealing with a State Champion in swimming. He finds himself HIV positive. He is expelled from the swimming team: one day he gets into the water and everyone else scrambles out. He is totally rejected by his parents, his father beating him up and his mother telling him that since he was premature at birth she wishes he could have died. He has only one refuge and it is Nigel, his friend. He is arrested and definitely roughed up by the police who took him to the hospital where he is isolated in the sanatorium, alone and totally abandoned and unable to leave. He suffers from the rejection because of the disease, which is absolutely outrageous because everyone has the right to benefit from medicine equally, at least officially. But he also suffers from the rejection because he is at once revealed to be a homosexual. Note that’s the only word used in the film and the word “gay” is never used.

At this point we are deeply engulfed and drowning in some colonial heritage that India’s supreme court has still not been able to declare anti-constitutional Here is their latest decision:

REVIEW PETITION (CIVIL) No.               of 2014
(Against the Order dated 11.12.2013 in Civil Appeal No. 10972 of 2013 (arising out of Special Leave Petition (Civil) No. 15436 of 2009) passed by this Hon'ble Court: Sought to be Reviewed)
Dr. Shekhar Seshadri & Others   . . .Petitioners
Suresh Kumar Koushal & Others            . .Respondents

. . . This Hon'ble Court, by the impugned judgment, set aside the judgment of the High Court and held that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was constitutional and that it applied to acts, irrespective of age or consent of the parties involved. »

This Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is directly inherited from the old British colonial penal code. India has not yet been able to get rid of her colonial heritage and past. We have here a typical post colonial situation.

The consequences are drastic. Nikhil is in locked up detention in total isolation in a sanatorium where he gets minimal care. His family is victimized and ostracized in the city to the point of them having to leave, though this reveals the total lack of courage of the parents, since the daughter supported by her fiancé decides to stay and look for a lawyer and fight. Nigel as Nikhil’s partner is forced to go through a test, which is in a way perfectly sane and he should have decided to do it himself, and he finds out he is healthy. After the first difficult situation between the two men, Nigel becomes supportive to the end.

It is difficult to find a lawyer and there is no real legal attack possible if there is no popular support. So they start a public campaign. In that situation Nigel’s home will be raided and looted. But they win the battle. Nikhil decides not to fight against his boss who does not want to reinstate him in his job and he develops a musical career for a couple of years.

Then the film shows the slow ending of this life. It is in this part that the film brings the mother first to apologizing for her violent declaration. It will take a lot more time for the father who will finally accept for Nikhil to come back home when he has reached the final phase of the disease and is no longer able to have a normal activity. Nikhil will thus die a deeply emotional death in the arms of Nigel who would have gone to sleep curled up around him waiting for that magic moment when the sun comes up at daybreak, this moment becoming the metaphor of Nikhil’s death.

The film is absolutely beautiful and deeply emotional. It was shot in 2005 and it has not been able to prevent the erring position and ruling of India’s Supreme Court in 2014 as quoted above. We have to keep in mind India is assuming its colonial heritage instead of questioning it and is now far behind all western countries, or nearly, and all democracies respectful of their own democratic order that recognize the right to any adult to have and practice any sexual orientation they want as long as it does not endanger the integrity and life of their partners, with of course the special case of minors who are not supposed to have sexual intercourse with adults of any type up to a certain age set by the law. 


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