Can sanity not be expected from Indian “Godmen”?
After Asharam Bapu, who was quoted saying, “She (Nirbhaya) could have addressed the rapists as bhaiya!”, it is the Art Of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who made a baseless statement.
Speaking at the 13th Nehru Memorial Lecture at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), he said that homosexuality is not something permanent, it is just a “tendency” and it can change over time.
Responding to a student asking how he could deal with the hardships and ill-treatment meted out to him by friends and family over his sexual orientation, Sri Sri started off nicely enough.
“You treat yourself better, doesn’t matter how others treat you. You don’t think you are sick or something’s wrong with you. If you stand up, nobody can insult you… But if you feel weak and meek, and if you feel bad about yourself, nobody can make you feel better,” Sri Sri told the student as reported by The Indian Express.
He didn’t stop there, he further went on to say, "This is your tendency now. Just acknowledge it and accept it, and know that this tendency is not a permanent thing. It may change. I've seen many men who were gay, later on turn into heterosexuals, and there are those who are normal — what are called straight people — end up being gay later in life."
Yes, he actually said that and that too at one of the most open universities in India!
His statement was met with a lot of incredulity, frustration, and rage on social media. We're in the 21st century and such irresponsible statements by noted figures can cause grief to those who do not identify with 'straight' people.
Homosexuality is not a ‘tendency’ it’s something you are born as and is absolutely NORMAL. To tell someone you can change is irresponsible.— Sonam Kapoor (@sonamakapoor) November 14, 2017
And the winner of the Ramdev award for drooling idiocy is Sri Sri! https://t.co/kjev2Wt0CJ— Swati Chaturvedi (@bainjal) November 14, 2017
The Art of Living guru was invited to JNU to deliver the 13th Nehru Memorial Lecture.
Incidentally, a few years ago, Sri Sri had said homosexuality has never been considered a crime in Hindu culture. In fact, he minced no words when he said that "nobody should face discrimination because of their sexual preferences."
Homosexuality has never been considered a crime in Hindu culture. In fact, Lord Ayyappa was born of Hari-Hara (Vishnu & Shiva). #Sec377— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) December 11, 2013
Homosexuality-not a crime in any Smriti. Everyone has male & female elements. According to their dominance,tendencies show up & may change.— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) December 11, 2013
Nobody should face discrimination because of their sexual preferences. To be branded a criminal for this is absurd.— Sri Sri Ravi Shankar (@SriSri) December 11, 2013
This is not the first time that spiritual leaders have spoken about homosexuality.For example, the Patanjali founder Ramdev Baba, vowed to "cure" homosexuals of their gayness, indicating that it's a disease, triggering a backlash from a community already persecuted for their sexual preference.
"Homosexuality is not genetic. If our parents were homosexuals, then we would not have been born. So it's unnatural," Ramdev had said.
He did not stop at calling homosexuality a tendency, he further enlightened the gathering about the "anti-national" tag given to JNU.
He said, “Rebelliousness is part of youthfulness. Some youths have a tendency to rebel. Just because they’re talking different, don’t think they’re anti-national. Don’t brand them… Nobody can be disloyal to the nation they are in…. If they are really so, they need counselling.”
Can we not expect some sensibility from people?
Cover image source: indiatimes
Information source: indianexpress