Dear India, Why Weren’t You There for Me? Asks a Gay Indian Teen
I was born unto you and have looked up to you all through. I was put under your care and you were there as I grew, grew into the person I call myself now. But it hasn't been a smooth ride.
This is an honest letter from the depths of my heart, to you India. This is a letter from a child to his mother.
I was born in the early 2000s. India was developing rapidly, or so I read, but I don't remember much. All I remember is me growing up at my ancestral home in a South Indian household. Days spent with my siblings now flood my memory. When I think of school days, I think of how you grew with me through my formative years.
I have grown patriotic as every Indian, singing the national anthem at school. I envision your rich history, torn apart by differences but held together by diversity. But somewhere along the way, things started to change. Was it the day a few netas started chanting communal slogans? Was it the day religion and caste came into the limelight for all the wrong reasons?
But then that has been the case with India for ages.
But things have changed. You have, India. I have, too.
I am scared. I grew scared when I was 13, when I discovered I was gay. Not like the rest of society. Not like the rest of traditional Indian Society – un-sanskaari.
The Internet was there for me then. You weren’t, India. You ignored me.
When I turned 14, I was still battling with myself. I later learned that my state's "pride March" had taken place opposite my church. I came to know about the other letters, the other identities, the "other" people. I picked up the pieces that you left lying. But I don't blame you India. I don't blame you anymore. I now know it wasn't you, it was just a bunch of sanskaari upper-caste privileged men, who disregarded my rights, because I wasn't like them. I wasn't Indian, they claimed. I was a product of western influence that aimed at diluting India's cultural heritage, they claimed.
India, you’ve been turned into a land of hypocrisy.
Then it seemed like you, India, was in another journey. You took a wrong turn, but you haven't looked back. No, not yet. It started with a few hateful privileged men. Now it has exacerbated. They have steered you into a new course of destiny. Things turned dark. Casteism reared its ugly head, and differences that had healed, festered once more. Dalits, minorities, and journalists all face a new hateful rhetoric. Hate that has taken lives and dignity. I am ashamed. But this is India.
Back to myself and my acceptance of my own Identity, I had come to terms with it. I found a few allies, more online than offline. I came out to people, to my own siblings. All of them took it in a positive way.
Sure, there have been hiccups but that's only a part of the broader scheme of things.
Do you know India how it's like to be seen as a criminal? As an outsider? As someone trying to bow down to societal pressures? I think you get where I'm coming from.
But why this letter? I honestly don’t know. But dear India, I hope you do the right thing for your children. We are here, silently bearing it all. We won’t give up on you. But please listen to what we have to say.
As a gay Indian teen, I hope you listen. Listen India, before our voices are muffled.
An un-sanskaari gay Indian teenager
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