Sangharsh Jaari Hai: Mumbai Comes Together To Protest Against Section 377

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The rather quiet B N Maheshwari Udyan at King’s Circle, usually peppered with a few children and men relaxing after a long day at work, came alive last evening with the chants of “Hamara sangharsh jaari hai” and “Queer Azaadi Zindabad”. The LGBT community of Mumbai organised a peaceful protest to dissent against the Section 377 of Indian Penal Code which criminalises sexual activities “against the order of nature”, including homosexual acts.

I was there to share my dissent and support friends because I believe that together we can make ours a more tolerant, progressive and truly democratic country. As the crowd gathered near the famous Koolar restaurant at 3 pm we were told that the gates opened only at 4 pm. Everyone waited patiently sharing their thoughts and in walked an couple with placards that had everyone cheering for them. They were Professor and Dean Anjali Monteiro and Professor and Chairperson K. P. Jayashankar from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences. Their placard read “Straight But Not Narrow”. Here is what they had to say:

At 4 pm when we proceeded to the garden, the josh was palpable in the air. Around 1000 people, all dressed in black, filled the garden silently, with placards that said what was on their minds. A giant multi coloured flag, symbolic of the queer movement, hung from the flyover above the park and there stood a silent Sapna Bhavnani, a supporter of the cause, with her placard. Harish Iyer, popular activist, joined her soon and before we knew it the park was chanting “Humein chahiye azaadi”. After about an hour we settled on the grass and sang and danced till late evening. There was someone with a harmonium and a couple of Djembe, or African Drum, players were setting up for a session. Sapna started dancing and the crowd joined in, laughing and singing.

As the evening came to an end, someone distributed candles and the whole park was lit up. Humming “Hum honge kamyaab” the crowd proceeded to a little dome within the park where the candles were then left. It was an evening well spent, sharing thoughts, ideas and concerns about where we are headed as a society. I only wish there were more citizens who could join in and give the cause some momentum. Whether you are straight or gay, man or woman, if you believe that everyone deserves equal rights, I urge you to stand up for the rights of the LGBT community in India and support them in their sangharsh. Let us be the change we want to see in the world.

Here are some photos from the evening…

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View from Koolar restaurant at 3:30 pm
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Professors Anjali and K P Jayashankar from TISS
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377 Quit India
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Signing of the public petition
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‘Criminal by birth, proud by choice.’
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Sangharsh Jaari Hai
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Sapna Bhavnani protests
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Harish Iyer shares his views
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A couple of men demonstrating their dissent
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Djenbe drummers
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Sapna Bhavnani takes to the dance floor
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The police had nothing to do but stand and watch people sing and dance

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All photos by Garima Sharma

Post By Garima Sharma (111 Posts)

Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.

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Garima Sharma

Garima Sharma
Founding Editor at MumbaiMag, graffiti and street art lover, traveller, blogger and amateur photographer, slave to Thor, my Lab.