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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014
Sick and unnatural
Indrajit Hazra, Hindustan Times
December 14, 2013
First Published: 23:38 IST(14/12/2013)
Last Updated: 23:41 IST(14/12/2013)

I don’t like Baba Ramdev’s eyes. They make me worry about the safety of my children. I don’t have children, but that’s not the point. And before anyone concludes that I’m not a father because I must be homosexual, that’s not true. I find Kiran Bedi quite attractive.

Ramdev has a squint in his left eye. It’s not how god would have chosen to make a left eye unless he was doing happy hours at a TGIF. But as everyone knows, god predates TGIFs and doesn’t drink while overseeing the formation of human embryos. So I’m guessing that Ramdev’s left eye is what it is because of some ailment that can be corrected.

But even as Ramdev’s left eye is unnatural, is it dangerous? There’s nothing that suggests that it poses a threat to society at large. But it still makes me uncomfortable. Does this extreme discomfort make me want to seek out the law to make squinting criminal? On the face of it, no. After all, it’s not as if India’s most openly squinting man stands in front of me and blinks regularly wishing to cause the moral turpitude he ends up causing for me and my loved ones.

What worries me is that this man with a squint — and there are thousands like him out there — flaunts it. I can feel him wanting me to squint too behind my symmetrically-eyed wife’s back. He doesn’t even bother to cover his unnaturalness with an eye patch. A squinty-eyed nation is an unhealthy nation, not to mention an unnatural nation. Being unnatural in the sense of having a deviant eye, however, is one thing. But having it out there for optically healthy people to see is threatening, especially for impressionable young minds.

I would have thought that a man who prescribes yoga treatment for eye ailments (‘netra rogo ke liye’) would think twice before flaunting his perversion. This is the same yog rishi who, with flute music wafting in the background, tells us to “rinse your mouth with water and splash your eyes with cold water in the morning. All the heat of your eyes will be gone”. Oh, he knows how sick a squint is, all right.

Ramdev isn’t as stupid as he looks. Welcoming the Supreme Court’s verdict on Wednesday that held consensual sex between adults of the same gender an offence, he offered all potential criminals a cure. Homosexuality, Ramdev said, is a “bad addiction” — like sniffing glue, kleptomania, and masticating gum — that yoga can cure.

His opinion that homosexuality is “not genetic” since “if our parents were homosexuals, then we would not have been born” doesn’t really hold up in the proverbial court, overlooking as it does the powerful concept of closing one’s eyes and thinking of someone else. But the fact that he has invited “the gay community” to his ashram guaranteeing to “cure them” belies his active encouragement of squinty eyes.

Ramdev also questioned the contribution of gay people in science and economics. APJ Abdul Kalam and Amartya Sen can cite the likes of computer science pioneer Alan Turing and economist John Maynard Keynes respectively to counter this point. But I’m not going to get bogged down about whether White people make better gay scientists and economists than Indians. My concern lies elsewhere.

I don’t know what the position of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the Apostolic Churches Alliance, the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, and the Karan Johar Fan Club is regarding ptosis, the medical condition caused by the weakness in the tendon of the muscle of the upper eyelid that causes squints. I should think that at least the Tamil Nadu Muslim Munn Kazhagam, which also challenged the 2009 Delhi High Court ruling that decriminalised homosexuality which has been overturned this week, knows that none other than Salman Rushdie walked about openly with ptosis in front of Muslims and non-Muslims alike before getting it surgically treated.

Liberals may drone on about how people have the right to conduct their lives freely with a squint. But unlike consenting homosexuals, heterosexuals or even hortisexuals (who involve bushes or shrubs), the squint-eyed do not go about their business in private and are, as a result, a public bane to decent society.

As I munch on my LGBT (lettuce-guacamole-bacon-tomato) sandwich, there’s only one wish I have for the future of this great pillow-biting country: that its children and their children — all heterosexual and created from the natural vitamins and juices of heterosexuality — live in an India free of squinty-eyed perverts.

The writer’s book Grand Delusions: A Short Biography of Kolkata is out in bookstores this week.


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