I always wondered what it would have been to be an Indian pre-1947. Being born into the country decades after the British had left the country, I always wondered the euphoria the people would have felt at the stroke of the midnight hour on 15 August 1947, when the world slept while India awoke to life and freedom.
Perhaps it is the same feeling that I felt yesterday. While the rest of the country was freed of colonial rule on 15 august 1947, the members of the LGBT community in India was still being treated as second-class citizens in their own country, for simply being who they are.
The judgement of the Delhi High court on 2 July 2009 has finally freed the last section of the population which was still technically under colonial rule. The judgement is historic. It provided hope to millions of people. People who have been persecuted for being who they are. Persecuted for simply wanting to love and be loved. Persecuted for being brave enough to want the rights that were guaranteed to them under the constitution.
Yesterday was India's second tryst with destiny. At the stroke of the afternoon hour, while the world looked on, India awoke to life and freedom, one more time.
The achievement we celebrate today is but a step, an opening of opportunity, to the greater triumphs and achievements that await us. Are we brave enough and wise enough to grasp this opportunity and accept the challenge of the future?
This ruling does not bring with itself social acceptance. There will still be families and friends who disapprove. People will still make still snigger. Nevertheless, the past is over and it is the future that beckons to us now. We have to learn that there will always be people who will discriminate against you because of who you are. Whether it's because of the colour of your skin, your name, your shoe size, the way you style your hair etc.
We don't need acceptance from those people nor we need a "you're moral" character certificate from the "God-hates-you" crowd.
We only need our own acceptance, and the love and support of the people who appreciate us for who we are and not who they would prefer us to be.
Be fabulous. Always.
(Okay, for those who haven't figured it out yet, this post heavily borrows from Nehru's speech that he gave to the constituent assembly on 15 August 1947. I'm sure he would have wanted to say this. He was one of us, after all. Click here for the original. )