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'Most of us get over homosexuality after school'

Cabinet minister Ghulam Nabi Azad need not apologise to anyone for having described homosexuality as unnatural. There are millions of others who share his opinion, writes Khushwant Singh.

columns Updated: Jul 17, 2011 01:42 IST

Cabinet minister Ghulam Nabi Azad need not apologise to anyone for having described homosexuality as unnatural. There are millions of others who share his opinion. The problem is that homosexuality is a part of everyone’s experience. Most of us get over it. Recall your days in school and college. Boys have crushes on other boys and girls have it for other girls. Then they get married, forget their love for members of their own sex.

It is only in the recent past that liberal societies have accepted the truth that homosexuality is not an aberration but a fact of life and allowed gay and lesbian marriages as valid as marriages of men and women.

The incidence of homosexuality among creative people is significantly higher than others.

Two Indian writers never bothered to conceal their being homosexuals. One was Aubrey Menon, author of Rama-Retold in which he had created his own version of the Ramayana which many Hindus found offensive. It was promptly banned by the Indian government. He was also indiscriminate in his choice of partners.

In Bombay he was staying in the Oberoi Grand. The management wanted to throw him out as he was making passes at waiters and room boys. I pleaded on his behalf and told the manager how eminent a writer he was and they should be more understanding of his eccentricities.

The other is Vikram Seth, author of The Golden Gate, A Suitable Boy and many other books. He is as close to being a genius as anyone I have ever known. It doesn’t take him more than a couple of days to pick up a new language. When last time he came to have a drink with me, he gave me a calligraphic piece in Arabic script drawn like a diamond. He wrote my name in Urdu. I have it framed and display it on my mantelpiece.

End of the World
My friend and foes, my wealth and property, all my worry

My life from end to end, my heartbreaks, my glee, the defeats I suffered, my soughtafter victory

These flickering light, in a river floating free, the works I could produce and the books that couldn’t the light of the day see –

For me the world would end when I cease to be

But O, if I die young, If I am taken away in the flush of my act –

If I am cut in the middle with swelling sobs around, with the tears that fill the burial ground

And with all my treasures yet to be found! Just then I hear a sound:

Nature will shower its holy grace, and people better than me will fill my place.
(Courtesy : Kuldip Salil, Delhi)

Heavenly fare
A man goes to heaven after doing good work on earth. He could see hell from his place in heaven. To his surprise, he saw a sumptuous feast was. If hellish people could get such delightful food, he wondered what was awaiting him. But a bearer left just a sukhi roti and a stale pickle as his meal. “I say I am in heaven and you are serving such poor food when hellish people are enjoying a feast,” he remarked in anger.

I know, I know, but which contractor would prepare food just for you alone? So what you get is the minimum available.
(Contributed by G Neelakantan, Bangalore)

Books for help
An old lady was suffering from severe constipation. So she went to her doctor. “My bowels haven’t moved for seven days. I am in agony.” “Have you done anything about it ?” he asked.

“I sit on the commode every morning and evening.”

“Do you take anything?”

“Of course, I take a book.”
(Contributed by Amarinder Bajaj, Delhi)

The views expressed by the author are personal

First Published: Jul 16, 2011 21:24 IST