The Lesbian community in India has a long and colorful history, which is sadly often overlooked or ignored by the mainstream Western media. The Indian lesbian community has played an important role in the lives of millions worldwide since their formation centuries ago. The history books will always record the contributions made by Indian lesbians to society. These stories have been told across many nations and have left an indelible mark on lesbian history and consciousness.
In fact, a number of stories in Indian lesbian history have gone under the pen of a famous writer who continues to be lauded for her contributions to lesbianism in India. VS Naipaul was one of the most sought after writers in the Indian lesbian community and remains popular today. She wrote the novel, Pride, which tells the story of two gay lovers in Mumbai.
As the decades passed, there was a distinct lack of stories about lesbians in Indian history. This all changed after the launch of the Sangharsha movement in India. The Sangharsha was a nationalistic, far-reaching organization which emerged in India at the time of the end of the Indus Valley Civilization and marked a distinct identity for the lesbian community. The movement sought to unite all lesbians in a common cause. The stories of Indian lesbianism were therefore accepted as authentic in the Sangharsha circle. However, there was still no room for expression of lesbianism within the limits of the Sangharsha hierarchy.
However, this did not mean that lesbianism had faded altogether. The Indian lesbian community did not just accept the existence of the lesbian community, but they demanded that their rights were fulfilled. Homosexuality was not merely tolerated but even celebrated in India. The Indian government too was supportive of lesbian rights and actively took measures to give equal rights to lesbians. There was even a top level government appointment for a Woman Advisor who would assist women in the formulation of lesbian policies.
The Indian lesbian community too has its own myths and legends. They are much the same as those of the Indian heterosexual community. Though they have undergone some changes, such as the introduction of the word homosexuality, many in the lesbian community still adhere to old customs and norms. While most Indians accept the fact that lesbians exist, they do not accord them the same social, political and economic rights as other women. The Indian society still considers the lesbian community to be suspect and is often seen as heretical.
The existence of the lesbian community is still very much a controversial issue in the Indian society today. Despite this, the visibility of the Indian lesbian community and the progress made in the matter of equal rights for lesbians are milestones in the right direction. This has made it easier for more people to come out and support the lesbian community and demand equal rights. The stories of Indian lesbian history tell us that even within a highly multicultural society like India, there are still pockets of people who are willing to accept the lesbian community and promote lesbian culture.Indian Lesbians, Indian Lesbian.
image credit freepik