“All times I have enjoyed
Greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those
That loved me, and alone; on shore, and when
Through scudding drifts the rainy Hyades
Vext the dim sea. I am become a name…”
- Ulysses, Alfred Lord Tennyson
Now is a time for celebration, the world looks to a supposedly reified ‘queer’ community to revel in fun and frolic, laughter and hugs, kisses and hands held. The community smiles, their minds are kaleidoscopes with every square and quadrangle showing a new face lost by the ignorance, silence, and oppression of the same people who now say on their Instagram stories and Facebook posts – #377NeverGoBack #NoLongerACriminal – with the same excited rigor of a white American boy discussing how cool it was to have been to jail. The community remains doubtful, and cautiously optimistic. The people mourn the sex workers beaten, the men and women harassed in police stations and sexually harassed, unnaturally abused in suspicion of unnatural sex. But there is joy, hidden between eyelids hesitantly staying open while facing the constant whirlwinds of shame and guilt, now absolved by this most comprehensive judgment, where the Supreme Court Justices write paragraphs and passages stating that the people of the country owe an apology to the LGBTQ population. An apology warrants a possibility for forgiveness. Hannah Arendt’s On Forgiveness speaks of forgiveness and punishment, and the possibility of love beyond both.
Forgiving… is the only reaction which does not merely re-act but acts anew and unexpectedly, unconditioned by the act which provoked it and therefore freeing from its consequences both the one who forgives and the one who is forgiven… The alternative to forgiveness, but by no means its opposite, is punishment, and both have in common that they attempt to put an end to something that without interference could go on endlessly…
…love, although it is one of the rarest occurrences in human lives, indeed possesses an unequaled power of self-revelation and an unequaled clarity of vision for the disclosure of who, precisely because it is unconcerned to the point of total unworldliness with what the loved person may be, with his qualities and shortcomings no less than with his achievements, failings, and transgressions. Love, by reason of its passion, destroys the in-between which relates us to and separates us from others.
As subjects, nay, people rendered objects by the serial and systemic oppression for decades, is the community now ready to forgive, or must it punish? Can people who have been abused to a point where love is unrecognizable, learn the ability to love the oppressor? Is this abstract characterization of society as the oppressor, leave room for a reformed mind that attempts to deconstruct gendered bodies, as well as ungendered ones, with sexualities that involve facing the most feared unknown?
This issue of Maya hopes to balance celebration with an informed skepticism. It includes writings as well as photographs depicting a variety of engaging content. This includes articles on the representation of LGBTQI people in media and literature, the role that legal reform plays with respect to empowering queer communities and individuals, political movements, and celebrations for the reading down of Section 377. The issue also includes a photo series on the Koovagam transgender festival.
We hope that our time spent in reflection, celebration and mourning, whether with our loved ones or by ourselves, give us the chance to actualize and become a name. For a person to be ‘queer’, we require a radicalism that transcends our shame, pain and guilt, and translates into an ability to forgive, and love.
We would also like to give credit to Akash Dubey, a student at O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat for the cover image of the website.
[This post has been contributed by our Editor, Q (Srivatsan Manivannan). They recently graduated from Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, Sonipat.]
On behalf of the LGBTQI Community, O.P. Jindal Global University.