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July 20, 2009

Fear of the unnatural

Filed under: India, social change — Tags: — neosurya @ 18:59

This was an article by SANTOSH DESAI in the Times of India, Banglore Edition July 20 2009, page 12. The whole thing can be read here.

Awesome article related to the recent flurry of activity around homosexuality and article 377 of the IPC [1]. A few extracts from the article:

What is it about homosexuality and its apparent legalisation that causes such consternation?


The argument put forward is that partnerships of the same sex are unnatural. Men and women have been outfitted with sexual equipment in certain ways because they have defined roles to perform. On the face of it, this is a robustly commonsensical argument

The catch is, of course, that there is nothing very much that is natural about hallowed social institutions like marriages and families. These are cultural institutions that have been superimposed on natural instinct. Monogamy is not an inevitable natural condition but an institutional mechanism devised for a very specific purpose. Civilization is the human rejoinder to nature; it seeks to curb our natural instincts so that we can build a sustainable long-term habitat. Without a well-defined system of marriage, property rights, for instance, are difficult to administer and without these rights, the need to invest in the future beyond producing offspring diminishes.


strange, for culture almost by definition seeks to control what is natural. Culture routinely uses the body in ways not intended by nature. If we were meant to wear ear-rings, we should have been born with pierced earlobes, for instance. And certainly, nature did not mean for us to wear clothes; that is an act of culture alone.


We do not accept that humans were meant to travel only as fast as their legs can take them simply because that is the nature of our physical equipment, so why should we argue in this case?


What is being called natural is being mixed up with that which occurs more often.

The conclusion of the article is a very interesting. Please do read all of it. The line in red above gels very well with what I have been mulling over for quite sometime. But I firmly believe that nature will have the last laugh, no matter what mould civilization seeks to put it in. BTW, nature could indeed have the last laugh on gay parades as well…


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